Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Public Accounts Committee

2012 Annual Report and Appropriation Accounts of the Comptroller and Auditor General
Chapter 4 - Vote Accounting
Chapter 10 - Central Government Funding of Local Authorities
Chapter 11 - Costs of Land Remediation
Vote 25 - Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government

11:30 am

Mr. John McCarthy:

I will take the second question first. From memory, the lease was in County Monaghan, where there was a 25-year lease on the property at a cost of €16,800 per annum. The property was vacated last year and a negotiated settlement has been reached, on the payment of €50,000, to end the lease. This was agreed recently. We have sanction for making the payment, but I am not sure it has been made yet. If not, it will be made shortly. That was the last lease.

On the plastic bag levy, when it was introduced in 2001-02, it was very much designed to change behaviour. Subject to correction, at that stage Ireland was using approximately 1.2 billion plastic bags a year. The levy has been hugely effective in changing behaviour and we have reduced the number of plastic bags used here by approximately 95%. This obviously has an impact on the revenue that accrues from the levy, but that is a by-product. Behavioural change was our key requirement. In 2013, in the accounts of the environment fund, the levy yielded €12.8 million.