Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal Damien English said price increases on bin charges under a new scheme are not guaranteed and that the Government will "step in" if customers are abused.

But critics believe householders will pay more and have called for a price freeze.

Sinn Féin has tabled an emergency motion for tomorrow's Dublin City Council meeting to stop the new charges.

Last Wednesday, Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten announced the new regime, which is to replace the controversial plan for a pay-by-weight system shelved by the Government last year.

The new scheme was supposed to be introduced yesterday, but it has been delayed until September as it continues to meet resistance from the opposition.

Under the new scheme, waste companies will still be allowed to apply standing charges, but they will also have to contain a usage element such as pay-by-weight or pay per lift.

The change is believed to affect up to 600,000 customers, mainly in the Dublin area, who pay a fixed monthly fee, sometimes around €17 a month, for all waste collection.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week In Politics programme, Mr English said: "It's important there is competition, and it's proven that having a flat rate charge doesn't reduce waste, but I hope companies will engage with their customers to help reduce waste and inform them with how best to do that."

He said the Government will watch this and will step in if it thinks companies are abusing their customers.

Fianna Fáil has called for the establishment of an independent Waste Regulator, but Minister English said "a regulator would cost money, we'll try to avoid that if possible".

Sinn Féin wants a new waiver scheme introduced for low-income families while the Labour Party said it wants a strong regulator and competition in the market. Two private members' motions have been tabled in the Dáil.

A rally was held in the Tivoli Theatre in Dublin today to celebrate the acquittal of six men accused of false imprisonment in the Jobstown trial.

Their protest was over water charges but the campaigners said they will devote the same energy to bin charges.

Mr English said people will have a choice on how they manage their waste and may be encouraged to recycle more.

However, Solidarity TD Mick Barry said prices are going to increase and called on the Government to reverse the decision and introduce a price freeze. He said there is a huge cost with privatisation.

These issues are expected to be debated in the Dáil during the week, putting bin charges back on the political agenda.

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