Wednesday 27 March 2019

Litter leaving a bad impression of town

Councillors are unhappy about the levels of litter and dog dirt building up on Wicklow’s streets
Councillors are unhappy about the levels of litter and dog dirt building up on Wicklow’s streets

Myles Buchanan

There were further complaints from councillors over the amount of litter and dog mess building up on the streets of Wicklow town.

Cllr Gail Dunne said he received a number of irate phone calls from members of the public embarrassed at the littered state of Wicklow on the same weekend an antiques roadshow and the Gaol-break run took place.

He said: 'People were giving out about litter in Fitzwilliam Square, the Mall, Copeland's Corner. It was a busy Sunday and I was disgusted there was no street cleaning. In England, if you pollute, you either clear-up or you are fined. There are two premises late at night causing much of this mess. Either we make provisions for the streets to be cleaned or we go after those responsible. One person actually contacted me to say they were "knee-high" in litter'.

Cllr Shay Cullen said fast food outlets operating at night tended to generate litter and a 'concerted effort' was required when 'big events' are taking place to make sure street clean-ups are carried out.

Cllr Irene Winters advised that the district budget only allowed for street cleaning on a Sunday during the months of June, July and August, and extending out to other months would have to come out of Wicklow Municipal District's discretionary fund.

'Every Sunday it's terrible and it is down to a lack of respect from people who are mostly residents in the town. It would be great if we had the money to clean up every Sunday but we don't.'

Cllr Mary Kavanagh recently visited Brittas Bay and was disgusted to find the bins full, with litter covering the area surrounding them.

'At the end of the day, establishments aren't the ones throwing rubbish on the ground. In other places it is kind of unheard of that you would just throw an ice cream wrapper on the ground. Why are teenagers and young people in their 20s in Wicklow getting off scot-free?' she asked.

Cllr Shay Cullen wondered if it would be possible to 'name and shame' people found guilty of littering, but District Administrator David Porter said a Dublin local authority had tried something similar only to be informed they were in breach of the Data Protection Act.

'Any logical-thinking person would concur with everything that has been said here about littering. But, sadly, late at night when a lot of this littering takes place, logical thinking isn't something you would associate with these people,' said the Cathaoirleach, Cllr John Snell.

Follow-up efforts will also be made to get the dog warden for Wicklow to attend an upcoming meeting of Wicklow Municipal District after Cllr Winters requested their presence earlier in the year. Cllr Mary Kavanagh inquired about a street cleaning machine purchased owned by the council, which can also clear dog mess up.

'If you walk along the Murrough it is clear that people just don't clean up after their dogs.'

Mr Porter replied that the machine's usage depended on the availability of outdoor council staff, but generally it is in operation one to three times a week.

'Dog mess is an ongoing issue everywhere in the district, not just Wicklow town. Also dog worrying is a big issue, especially around this time of year. We need the warden to give us an update on dog monitoring. Are they being seized if they aren't chipped? We really need to get a handle on dog litter on our streets,' said Cllr Cullen.

Wicklow People