Joanna Byrne: Time for Action on Litter

Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne told the monthly meeting of the Drogheda Municipal District that “it’s time to get real and actively start tackling the growing trend of illegal dumping.”

Cllr Byrne called for covert CCTV to be introduced in litter hotspots and informed officials from Louth County Council that dumping levels were now at an epidemic stage in Drogheda and that they could no longer hide behind the ‘excuse of budgetary allowances’.

Cllr Byrne stated that she is “blue in the face talking about this month in and month out” and acknowledged that other councillors felt the same.

Cllr Byrne said “Our town is filthy and we as a local authority are relying on volunteer groups week in week out to clean it. It has become the norm that several different community groups, all volunteers might I add, spend their free time cleaning up fly-tipping, commercial dumping, domestic dumping, you name it, it’s happening. It has become the norm that only hours after these groups clean an area, it is savaged with dumping once again. This has now apparently become socially acceptable.”

She continued, “Louth County Council has to step up and introduce covert CCTV in these hotspots. You can no longer hide behind the excuse of not having the budget to do so, just find it! Take on board the opinions of these community groups who are on the ground cleaning up for us, take on board the opinions of the members, let’s establish these hotspots and get real in tackling this growing trend instead of going around in verbal circles.”

Willie Walsh, Director of Services acknowledged that his department was aware it was an escalating problem and admitted the local authority wasn’t tackling it at a pace they should be, but assured the meeting there was cross-departmental strategizing on-going to come up with a solution for this in advance of the Fleadh.

Cllr Byrne responded, recognising the importance of the Fleadh and the implications of hosting it, but she expressed that this should be tackled for the townspeople first.

“I 100% agree that the dire state of our town will reflect badly on us when the visitors for Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann start flocking in, I also recognise the positive economic and tourism impacts the this will bring to Drogheda, but we should be tackling this problem for our people too. People who have reared their families in this town shouldn’t have to put up with this, children should be able to play on greenspaces without jumping over rubbish, and the goodwill of the volunteers in this town should not be taken advantage of.”

Cllr Byrne called for a costing on CCTV, be it covert or not to be brought back to the next meeting and some proposals from the operations department on implementing the same.

 

Cllr Antóin Watters Calls For Pro-Active Approach to Dumping

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has requested that Louth County Council to explore the option of installing height restriction barriers at litter hot spots in North Louth.

Cllr Watters made the request at this month’s Municipal meeting in Dundalk following and escalation in dumping incidents around North Louth since Christmas.

Councillor Watters said “since Christmas we have had tyres and building rubble dumped which are very costly to remove. While I welcome the funding for the County from the Government’s Dept of Climate Action and Environment through their Anti-Dumping Initiative (ADI), it is not going to solve the problem.”

In April Minister Denis Naughtan TD announced Louth would receive €76,300.

Antóin Watters explained that this sum was to cover the whole county and included Carrickarnon Laneway, Ravensdale. “I spent last weekend helping in the annual spring clean at Rathcor. The spirit and pride of the community in their area was evident as it is in other areas. People who are dumping rubbish are not wanted in the area. They do not care about the people or the area.”

Antoin Watters at Rathcor Clean up

“This money from the ADI will be used up just cleaning up after these people. We need to think more long-term and be more pro-active in tackling this issue once and for all. This is a war on dumping. We need to fund initiatives like amnesties for tyres and larger items like mattresses or suites of furniture. We need to make it difficult for dumpers to drive their vans to these hotspots and that’s where the height restriction barriers would help. We could use CCTV at these spots and even drone technology.”

Councillor Watters has been liaising with Louth County Council and Coillte on an on-going basis since Christmas on this issue and said “Coillte removed a further 260 tyres from its land last week and that is eating into their already tight budget. They shouldn’t have to spend their budget or their time on cleaning up rubbish, they were established for forestry works and illegal dumping is taking them away from that.”

Councillor Watters also said “the greatest resource that we have against these people are the communities themselves. I would again appeal to people to remain vigilant. If they see anyone dumping or if they see strange vehicles acting suspiciously around litter hotspots take note of them and report them to Louth County Council.”

“This is our county, our area, our community and we are proud of it. We are not going to let people treat it like their own personal rubbish tip. The money spent on cleaning up after these despicable people could be better spent elsewhere.”

Cllr Flood: Inoperable CCTV a major cause for concern

Speaking after the quarterly Local Policing Forum Meeting in Drogheda, Chairperson and Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood said that confirmation that the CCTV of the RAPID areas was ‘inoperable’ was a major cause for concern.

Cllr Flood said “The CCTV outside of the town centre is a vital tool in fighting anti-social behaviour, wider criminality and illegal dumping. In recent weeks I have been in touch with the council asking for them to review the CCTV to help fight dumping/fly-tipping. This evening, it was confirmed to me that it was in fact ‘inoperable'”.

“Although we were assured that the system was under review we have not been given a date for the conclusion of that review nor indeed when the CCTV will be operable again”.

“This is simply not acceptable and I will be pursuing the council to finish their review in a timely manner, repair and reactivate the CCTV in Drogheda.”