Enforcement actions against illegal waste activity are a matter for the local authorities and the Office of Environmental Enforcement (OEE) within the Environmental Protection Agency. Under section 60(3) of the Waste Management Act, the Minister is precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to the performance by the Environmental Protection Agency or a local authority, in particular circumstances, of a statutory function vested in it, including enforcement functions.
The primary responsibility for the management of any waste, including costs for removal or disposal, lies with the holder of the waste, i.e. the natural or legal person in possession of the waste, or the producer of the waste. The Waste Management Act imposes a general duty of care on holders of waste, under which a person may not hold, transport, recover or dispose of waste in a manner that causes, or is likely to cause, environmental pollution. Penalties for serious dumping offences provided for under the Waste Management Acts are substantial. Persons who are found to be responsible for, or involved in, the unauthorised disposal of waste are liable to a maximum fine of €3,000 on summary conviction and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, and to a maximum fine of €15 million on conviction on indictment and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.