Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dick Roche crumbles before Chewing Gum lobby.



Good old Dicky Roche, the most pointless of ministers.

I'm starting to come the conclusion that either we don't need Dick Roche, that we don't need his Department or that both are a figment of our general imagination.

Today, after maybe 4 years of hemming and hawwing, the proposal to tax chewing gum makers to cover the cost of water blasting their produce off the many square kilometres of pavement that it covers in Ireland was scrapped after "intensive negotiations with manufacturers, led by US firm Wrigleys", according to the Irish Times .
Instead, the industry will contribute EUR2 million per annum.

This has been debated to death and I'm glad this nearly pointless issue has finally been laid to rest. While I can see the obvious importance of getting gum off the pavements (just look at Henry Street), this entire thing has gone on far too long.
And we sort of got the short straw, seeing as the machines used to get the gum off the ground cost millions to buy and maintain every year, and will probably not be covered by this deal.

I was well in favour of the tax. But the industry didn't want this sort of thing to become the norm in the EU (and I expect the UK would have followed our lead).

My favourite quote is this..

"Negotiations almost broke down last October over the level of contribution and a commitment to funding research on developing less adhesive gums."

What on Earth..? This took years?!!

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