Wednesday 21 August 2019

'Suckerpunch' for Ballymun as town is ranked country's biggest litter blackspot

Green Party Cllr. Caroline Conroy at Balbutcher Lane in Ballymun.
Pic Steve Humphreys
10th June 2019
Green Party Cllr. Caroline Conroy at Balbutcher Lane in Ballymun. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Rubbish at Shangan Road in Ballymun. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Tidy Town Committee Member Thomas Ward in Ballymun. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Balbutcher Lane in Ballymun. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Rubbish at Shangan Road in Ballymun. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
The dilapidated Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Rubbish close to Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
A discarded bicycle and children's toys in the car park of Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Rubbish at Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Rubbish at Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Rubbish at Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
A discarded fridge at Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
The dilapidated Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Robert Murphy, owner and manager of Nan’s SuperValu in Ballymun and Chairperson of Ballymun Tidy Towns Group. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019
Cllr. Noeleen Reilly and Tidy Town Volunteer in Ballymun. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019

Gabija Gataveckaite

Topping the national list of blackspots is a "suckerpunch" for the community of Ballymun, according to hardworking locals.

The latest report from Irish Businesses Against Litter (IBAL), released today, ranked Ballymun in Dublin's north inner city to be Ireland’s biggest litter blackspot.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Tidy Towns Ballymun chairperson and Nan’s Supervalu owner Robert Murphy said that the news was a "suckerpunch" for the community.

“Morale is really low here today, we thought we started off to a really good year this year," Mr Murphy said.

Robert Murphy, owner and manager of Nan’s SuperValu in Ballymun and Chairperson of Ballymun Tidy Towns Group.
Pic Steve Humphreys
10th June 2019
Robert Murphy, owner and manager of Nan’s SuperValu in Ballymun and Chairperson of Ballymun Tidy Towns Group. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019

"We’re really disappointed for our group, Ballymun Tidy towns group, really disappointed for the volunteers, the committee members and then the community groups that do loads of great work here."

Mr Murphy explained that the low ranking was due in part to the recession cutbacks, which the town did not bounce back from, as well as socio-economic issues.

The dilapidated Ballymun Shopping Centre.
Pic Steve Humphreys
10th June 2019
The dilapidated Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019

"The report looks at 40 towns across Ireland - I wouldn’t say out of those 40 towns, 38 of the towns have the same socio-economic issues that we do have in Ballymun here," added Mr Murphy.

Independent Councillor Noeleen Reilly added that illegal dumping is an issue in the area.

"There is a problem with illegal dumping, there’s no doubt there is," she said.

It’s a bit demoralising to see that kind of report about your community when a lot of good work is going in from residents trying to improve the area.

Tidy Town Committee Member Thomas Ward in Ballymun.
Pic Steve Humphreys
10th June 2019
Tidy Town Committee Member Thomas Ward in Ballymun. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019

"So it's disappointing that we seem to be taking steps back rather than moving forward.

"I think DCC need to take back over the waste management service at this stage it’s a problem all over Dublin and its not just Ballymun," she added.

Rubbish at Shangan Road in Ballymun.
Pic Steve Humphreys
10th June 2019
Rubbish at Shangan Road in Ballymun. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019

However, there was still hope in Ballymun as Green Party councillor Caroline Conroy explained that residents have cleaned up Belclare Green, which now looks "gorgeous".

"There was a lot of illegal dumping going on and fires being set against people’s walls and stuff like that," she said.

Rubbish close to Ballymun Shopping Centre.
Pic Steve Humphreys
10th June 2019
Rubbish close to Ballymun Shopping Centre. Pic Steve Humphreys 10th June 2019

"The residents and Dublin City Council got together and they gave them the tools and the residents got out and did the work and it’s absolutely gorgeous now and there’s no illegal dumping now."

DCU student and Tidy Towns committee member Thomas Ward said that students from the university need to volunteer with the group.

"I believe that we do need more volunteers because Ballymun is such a huge area I believe that people need to take their own initiative," he told Independent.ie

"People are quite deflated and we need to motivate them and maybe they’ll want to look after the area a lot more than they currently do."

Meanwhile, newly-elected Dublin Mayor Paul McAuliffe explained that the council must tackle the anti-social behaviour that comes with illegal dumping.

"The reality is that there is an issue with illegal dumping, but there’s two key points to be made- the first point is that those that are involved in it, it’s wrong and its not tolerated and you’re targeting the wrong community.

"The second point is that DCC must now look to tackle it and the anti-social behaviour that comes with it," he said.

"We have to ask ourselves, what can we do with technology like CCTV? What we can do as a council, how do we tackle the antisocial behaviour that comes of it?"

He added that he was not surprised to see Ballymun at the top of the blackspot list.

"I wasn’t surprised but sadly disappointed to see it at the top of the list this year, the town comes out close to the top every year, but this year it was at the top," he said.

"I love Ballymun and there’s huge work being done by environmental groups and tidy towns committees and it’s very demoralising and discouraging for them," Mr McAuliffe added.

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