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Thursday 22 February 2018

Dirty old town: Derelict Dublin a ‘magnet’ for litter

Louise Hogan

Dublin is once again living up to its billing as a 'Dirty Old Town' because of a rise in the number of vacant commercial properties, ghost estates and derelict sites, a new survey has found.

The first image tourists encounter as they exit Dublin Airport is a litter-strewn road, said Dr Tom Cavanagh, chairman of Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), which carried out the survey.

Killarney in Co Kerry came out cleanest in a litter league of 53 areas across the country, but Mr Cavanagh warned the litter issue was a national problem.

"Ireland cannot be deemed a clean destination for tourists if Dublin itself is not clean -- and that doesn't just mean the city centre," he said.

Inspectors reported many of the blackspot sites in Dublin "were not just littered but suffering from long-term abuse and neglect".

It highlighted food litter as commonplace on the approach roads to the city.

Dublin City Council -- which has 123 vehicles and 466 staff involved in street cleaning -- reported its cleaning schedules are based on a litter management plan which will be reviewed later this year.

"Dumping and litter blackspots arise mainly from local unacceptable practices in relation to disposal of waste and litter," it stated on the stark variances in the cleanliness of streets in different areas. Inspectors were also critical of another disadvantaged area -- Knocknaheeny in Cork city.

"The fact is we see regular cleaning on Dublin's Grafton Street and Patrick Street in Cork but less so in the more neglected parts of the cities," Mr Cavanagh said.

Overall the cleanliness rating for the country was the highest since the survey began 10 years ago, with more than 20 towns deemed cleaner than their European counterparts.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan admitted disappointment with Dublin's low score but argued that the areas chosen for the survey did not reflect the "overall situation".

IBAL called on local authorities to pursue absentee landlords to maintain properties as derelict sites become a "magnet" for litter. Mr Cavanagh said volunteers in local communities may be able to help cover up derelict surfaces with murals.

Some of the Dublin roads highlighted as blackspots due to litter, wastelands and derelict sites included Charlemont Street, Constitution Hill/Western Way junction, Dean Swift Square, Sean McDermott Street Swimming Pool, Pearse Street junction, Parnell Street, Iveagh Market Building and the Swords Road from the Airport Roundabout to M50 turnoff.

Irish Independent

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