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Friday 27 April 2018

Anger as 300kg of waste left behind after three day unofficial 'rave' in Kerry beauty spot

Images taken after the August 2017 Bank Holiday in Derrynane national park in Co Kerry (Image: Ross Duffy)
Images taken after the August 2017 Bank Holiday in Derrynane national park in Co Kerry (Image: Ross Duffy)
Images taken after the August 2017 Bank Holiday in Derrynane national park in Co Kerry (Image: Ross Duffy)
Images taken after the August 2017 Bank Holiday in Derrynane national park in Co Kerry (Image: Ross Duffy)

Cillian Sherlock

A gang of teenagers have left behind a trail of destruction, including human waste and condoms, in a protected National Park in Kerry.

Locals estimate that around 60 teenagers took part in a three day unofficial rave in the protected National Park in Derrynane, Co Kerry.

Ross Duffy, who lives near the park, said youths have flocked to the Derrynane dunes every August Bank Holiday weekend over the last couple of years but this year things got out of hand.

“This is becoming a bigger problem ever year but it is getting out of control now. This year it was off the charts. They took it to another level,” Mr Duffy told Independent.ie.

Images taken after the August 2017 Bank Holiday in Derrynane national park in Co Kerry (Image: Ross Duffy)
Images taken after the August 2017 Bank Holiday in Derrynane national park in Co Kerry (Image: Ross Duffy)

Mr Duffy said he spent four hours “trawling through waste” with his wife in an effort to clean up after the teenagers on Sunday.

Mr Duffy, who has been a resident of Caherdaniel for about 20 years, said his home overlooks the whole park.

“We saw a lot of garbage blowing across the dunes. We created a pile of it and there must’ve been 300kg of waste. The OPW came and removed the waste with a tractor,” he said.

“The mind boggles over the mind-set it takes to come down to a place that is so incredibly beautiful and desecrate it like that. There’s no shame or humiliation. Pride is what we are seeing,” he added.

Images taken after the August 2017 Bank Holiday in Derrynane national park in Co Kerry (Image: Ross Duffy)
Images taken after the August 2017 Bank Holiday in Derrynane national park in Co Kerry (Image: Ross Duffy)

Mr Duffy said he works with aid organisations in war-zones and refugee camps and comes back to Derrynane as a base to relax and meditate.

“It’s ironic to come back to Derrynane and find it looking like a refugee camp. I thought I would be done with war zones,” he said.

He said they have passed on all identifying information onto gardaí in Caherciveen.

“They were urinating in ponds and throwing bottles. They were stuffing waste down rabbit holes,” he said.

“The music was pumping for three days. They’ve left behind fireworks, glowsticks, rolling papers, empty cans and empty vodka bottles,” he added.

“There’s no doubt in mind that this was highly co-ordinated. They came on private buses," he said.

“We’re kind of lost down here. We’re banging our heads against walls,” he said.

“The amount of shampoo bottles we found. They were clearly concerned about their personal hygiene, and they had even demarcated a section for use as a toilet,” he said.

Mr Duffy said the local economy depends on tourism, including nature trails that go through the campsite.

Vincent Hyland operates nature walks in the area and said the teenagers caused disruption to protected and sensitive species.

“The campsite is maybe 1 of 5 spots where the protected Natterjack Toad is found. They were urinating into ponds where the toad would be. They wouldn’t have been aware of it but they were also trampling onto loads of tiny toads,” he said.

“There are signs everywhere including signs in relation to the protected wildlife,” Mr Hyland added.

He said the teenagers put waste in rabbit burrows which are also used by the nocturnal toads to hibernate.

“The other aspect is that there are also habitats for sensitive flowers like orchids which were trampled on,” he added.

“It is an ongoing concern that always happens at the August Bank Holiday weekend.  It is not the first time we’ve had to clean up after them,” he said.

“What we want is to try and stop it and send out a strong message from the community that we won’t tolerate this. We’d like to engage with the schools and parents to try and tell them what’s going on and what the consequences are,” Mr Hyland added.

West and south Kerry Councillor Michael Cahill described the teenager’s actions as “totally irresponsible”.

“They should clean up after themselves. It is sad really and totally irresponsible,” he said.

Cllr Cahill said illegal dumping has seen a noticeable increase in the last two and a half years.

“I live on a beach myself. From time to time we have similar issues. I have raised the issue with Kerry County Council and at a municipal level. We need to declare war on illegal dumping,” he said.

“It is hard to handle because a lot of is done under darkness. The only way people will learn is if fines are increased and more people are brought before the courts,” Cllr Cahill added.

“It is shameful really because we have great Tidy Town Committees in Kerry that do tremendous work which is undone overnight by people who can’t see beyond their own nose,” he said.

Garda Sergeant Mike Murphy from Caherciveen Garda Station confirmed that they are looking into the issue.

“We are aware of it and we certainly will be looking into it. We will be looking into the stuff left behind and will be speaking to the youths to see if we can come to some understanding,” Sgt Murphy said.

A spokesperson for the Office of Public Works (OPW), which operates Derrynane House, said they are working with local authorities on the issue.

"The Office of Public Works is aware of the littering, etc that occurred on Derrynane Dunes over the Bank Holiday Weekend.  The Office of Public Works is working closely with Kerry County Council and An Garda Siochana to address the matter and the actions required," a spokesperson for OPW said.

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