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Monday 21 January 2019

Illegal dumping - 'Any farm within 10 miles of a town is being targeted'

Trevor Smith (left) with his daughter Neeva (7) and Thomas Cooney, national environment and rural affairs chairman, IFA, on land he farms in Co Cavan. Trevor has a significant problem with rubbish of all kinds being dumped on his land. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Trevor Smith (left) with his daughter Neeva (7) and Thomas Cooney, national environment and rural affairs chairman, IFA, on land he farms in Co Cavan. Trevor has a significant problem with rubbish of all kinds being dumped on his land. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Farmers fear that illegal dumping on their land will get worse before it gets better.

Trevor Smith, a suckler farmer from Drumrora, outside Ballyjamesduff in Co Cavan, told the Farming Independent that he came across numerous rubbish bags dumped on his land last week.

"There was lots of different bags. I didn't look in to them. It's horrible to see rubbish discarded so thoughtlessly on the land," he said.

"This always happens after Christmas as every household has a build-up of rubbish. We hadn't had an issue in a while but whoever dumps this rubbish is definitely targeting small roads and scenic areas."

Farmers in north Dublin are also dealing with illegal dumping on their land. Sheep and livestock farmer Peter Rooney, who farms in Oldtown, said on the week before Christmas he woke up to 200 gallons of black oil dumped outside the gate of his farmhouse.

"Somebody obviously dumped them in the middle of the night. I was afraid to touch them in case they were dangerous so I contacted the council, and they are great and took them away," he said.

"We are very near a river so I was conscious if any of it spilled that it would cause severe damage to the river."

Mr Rooney said local farmers fear that the problem of illegal dumping will only escalate.

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"We are dealing with this problem on a daily basis and end up putting most of the rubbish in our own bin, which increases our bill.

"Any farm within a 10-mile radius of an urban area is always going to be affected. Things are going to get worse before they get better at the rate this is going.

"Selection boxes and remains of Peppa Pig toys are just some of things we see lined on our hedges every day."

IFA environment chair Thomas Cooney urged local authorities to develop post-Christmas plans to tackle illegal dumping in rural areas.

"We need increased enforcement action by local authorities, as well as tougher sentences and penalties for large-scale serial dumpers," he said.

Mr Cooney also called for the threat of fines and prosecution of farmers on whose land others irresponsibly dump their litter to be removed.

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