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 Joanna Byrne: Multi-Agency Approach Needed on Dumping

At this week’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Sinn Féin Councillor Joanna Byrne called for a multi-agency approach to be implemented to tackle the growing issue of illegal dumping in Louth.

Cllr Byrne stated that her home town of Drogheda is facing an epidemic regarding illegal dumping, with levels hitting an all time high. She put it to the Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan and representatives of Louth County Council that if they can work on a multi-agency basis to tackle illegal parking, the same must be done to combat the littering and dumping that is escalating at a rapid pace.

Cllr Byrne said “My least favourite word has just been mentioned – ‘Dumping’. Let me tell you all here and now – Drogheda is out of control with illegal dumping, it is gone beyond even talking about. There is absolutely no dressing it up anymore. I am calling for a multi-agency approach to tackling this, be it introducing covert CCTV, linking current community CCTV locations to Drogheda Garda Station, an increased presence of An Garda Síochana and Community/Litter Warden’s around litter hot-spots or more emphasis in filtering through this rubbish and following up on prosecutions, but something has to be done and has to be done fast. This is now an epidemic and if the Local Authority and An Garda Síochana can work together so successfully on targeting traffic matters the same effort needs to be put into tackling illegal dumping.”

Joe McGuinness, Director of Services for Louth County Council told Cllr Byrne that they are conscious of the rise in illegal dumping and it is a growing concern for them but assured her that they were launching an awareness campaign around the issue of waste disposal and anti-dumping initiatives over the coming weeks. Whilst Cllr Byrne welcomed this she did however inform him that this “simply isn’t enough”.

Cllr Byrne said “Awareness campaigns are great but they are now, in my view, far too late. The dumping throughout Drogheda, and indeed further afield in Louth has somehow become socially acceptable. This is not acceptable to me as a public representative of this county, it is not acceptable for my constituents,  it is not acceptable to the volunteers and community groups left with the task of continuously cleaning up this dumping and it certainly should not be acceptable to the Local Authority or the Gardaí. The time has come for you both to invest in this together with resources and willpower, the time has come to get tough! Re-packaging old commitments and answers on this isn’t cutting it anymore, token gestures such as awareness campaigns doesn’t cut it anymore either, action is what is needed, and is long overdue.”

Cllr David Saurin Welcomes Rathmullan Initiative

Sinn Féin Councillor David Saurin has welcomed the establishment of a Cross Directive Group to deal with the ongoing issues in Rathmullan Park. The announcement was made at Monday’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting by Louth County Council.

Councillor David Saurin said “this group will encompass various departments of Louth County Council working in a coordinated manner to address all the ongoing anti-social behaviour which is causing misery and distress for the residents of Rathmullan.”

Cllr Saurin outlined some of the actions that were being considered in addressing the problems in the area. “There are a number of things that can be done: estate management, housing infill (which will see replacement homes built replacing those demolished in the past), potential new road safety measures to help combat so called ‘joyriding’ and speeding in the area and also a litter management plan to combat the increasing practice of illegal dumping and the burning of domestic waste.”

Councillor Saurin has asked the Council to ensure “this new Cross Directive Group consult the residents of the estate throughout the implementation of any new initiatives produced as a result of the process. The residents are the ones best placed to identify the issues and problems they would like addressed. I have also asked that this new initiative to alleviate the problem of anti-social behaviour in the estate proceeds without delay so residents can see action and results as sooner rather than later.”

While Cllr Saurin welcomed this new group he explained how “residents of Rathmullen have long felt abandoned by Louth County Council and are at the end of their tether with the ongoing situation. Action and not words is what the people of Rathmullen need and this group is a step in the right direction.”

Cllr Flood Calls For Supermarkets to be Pro-active with Trolleys

Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has called for Supermarkets to be more pro-active in collection and monitoring their shopping trolleys. This follows a clean-up of the Boyne River by the Boyne Fisherman’s River Rescue Group.

Raising the issue at this month’s Drogheda Municipal Council meeting, Cllr Flood said “I was astounded at the inordinate amount of shopping trolleys that the Group recovered from the Boyne in their recent clean up. I was even more astounded when I was informed that this was only three months’ worth recovered and that they hadn’t even finished yet”.

Praising the Boyne Fishermen’s River Rescue Group, Cllr Flood said they “do a tremendous service putting their lives on the line to rescue people and then go the extra mile doing a huge service to Drogheda by clearing the Boyne like this. There has to be a change in people’s mind sets. Dumping anywhere is unacceptable but dumping for the fun of it in The Boyne is inexcusable”.

“These trolleys are a serious underwater hazard for swimmers in the river and can also destroy the propellers on passing boats. It is estimated that over 1,000 trolleys have been removed from the river over the past six years.”

Cllr Flood called on Retailers to do more to secure their trolleys when they are closed.

Underwater Hazzard

 

“If this was a once in a while occurrence then it may seem unfair to point the finger at supermarkets but this is a daily occurrence and the supermarkets do not seem to be collecting trolleys at the end of each day from around the town. The Council will be writing to supermarkets to remind them of their obligation to secure their property and also to remind them of the fines they could face if they fail to do so.”