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Town and cities winning fight against litter even as their budgets are cut

towns and cities are keeping up the fight against litter despite scarce resources.

Almost three-quarters of towns are 'litter-free' with just two areas classed as 'litter blackspots', the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) group's annual report reveals today.

However, Dublin city bosses have been sharply criticised for not keeping public spaces clean.

The north inner city, along with Cork's Knocknaheeny, are the only parts of the country classed as neglected.

The IBAL survey found that despite a squeeze on resources and public spending, Ireland's towns had not allowed their cleanliness levels to slip.

The cleanest town will be announced at a ceremony in Dublin later today, with Killarney, Cavan, Dun Laoghaire, Swords and Trim all in the running.

"Our environment continues to get cleaner despite a tightening of the public purse at local authority level," IBAL chairman Tom Cavanagh said.

"This indicates that the fight against litter is not about money. It's equally about a spirit of local pride and volunteerism among the local community, and we're seeing a resurgence of this in a climate where the need to attract tourists, local shoppers and new inhabitants is greater than ever."

A total of 38 of the 53 towns and cities surveyed by An Taisce were deemed 'clean' to European norms, a similar number to last year.

Four areas -- Portlaoise, Letterkenny, Dublin city, and Tipperary town -- were considered 'littered'.

IBAL criticised Dublin City Council for failing to keep the capital clean.

But the city council rejected the criticism, saying the survey was flawed.

"Yet again, the Irish Business Against Litter report does not truly reflect the cleanliness of Dublin," it said.

"It does not give a weighting to footfall levels which means more heavily populated areas are more likely to survey poorly. Site selection and area selection are arbitrary.

"The results as published are not consistent with the findings of the National Litter Monitoring Body for 2010 which show that 20pc of the city is litter-free, 60pc slightly littered while no area of the city was deemed to be grossly littered."

Irish Independent