Call for early morning cleaning as beach bins overflow

Stephen Fernane

The scorching temperatures and high numbers of beach-goers on Sunday last left Ballybunion in a 'deplorable state' according to Sinn Fein councillor Robert Beasley.

Mr Beasley was out strolling the cliff walk early on Monday morning when he noticed litter scattered across both the ladies and men's beaches.

Cllr Beasley said he met with tourists 'who couldn't believe the poor condition' of the beach at 7:45am, while litter bins along the beach front and in Ballybunion's Main Street were full to capacity.

For the remainder of the tourist season, Cllr Beasley wants council staff to be at Ballybunion for 7am to empty bins and have the locality looking pristine before tourists arrive at the beach as it's 'embarrassing and unfair' to what is a beautiful amenity.

Upwards of 7,000 people visited Ballybunion on Sunday according to Cllr Beasley.

"It's not rocket science to know that council staff should be there early in the morning," he said.

He explained that he witnessed 14 bins overflowing to a 'disgusting capacity' and he pleaded with the council to have workers at the seaside town at 7am for the next two months. He stated there should also be some measure of 'enforcement' on fast food outlets to deal with the packaging from fast food as many of these outlets are 'making big money' at this time of year and some onus should apply.  

"There is a lack of urgency on this matter and I'm begging [the council] to do something about it. The people are paying taxes and rates and it's not nice to have bins overflowing at 1:30pm on a Sunday."

Discarded litter is a major cause for frustration to locals who came together last March through the Ballybunion Community Forum to set up its 'Conquering Litter' initiative.

This campaign encouraged locals to purchase new orange-coloured bags to take with them whenever they visit the local beaches - and to stop, pick up and collect any rubbish they come across.

The initiative came about partly due to a lack of council bins in the vicinity. In its statement, Kerry County Council said regular patrols of beaches are undertaken by its litter wardens and dog wardens to maintain them to the highest standards.

The council has secured six convictions for littering in the courts to date in 2019 with fines ranging from €250 to €930. But it insists the main onus on maintaining beaches is the individuals and groups visiting the beach.

The council outlined its commitment to working with community groups and all beach users to ensure that the unique and valuable assets which are 'our beaches' are maintained to a high standard.

"Those visiting beaches should take all litter home with them and should leave the beach in the condition in which they found it. County Kerry has 14 Blue Flag beaches, the highest number in the country, and it is incumbent on all beach users to maintain that standard," Kerry County Council states.