Illegal dumping leading to rat problem in Killarney, councillor says

Figures from local authority show fewer than 30% of littering fines being paid in Co Kerry

A Kerry County Council member has said people issued with littering fines should be named and shamed. A similar policy was followed at a littering blackspot in Dublin, where photos of people seen illegally dumping were made public.  Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

A Kerry County Council member has said people issued with littering fines should be named and shamed. A similar policy was followed at a littering blackspot in Dublin, where photos of people seen illegally dumping were made public. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

 

Kerry County Council has been urged to take tougher action against dumping and fly-tipping after it emerged that fewer than a third of the litter fines issued in the county last year were paid.

Illegal dumping in Killarney has resulted in complaints about rats in the town and a number of rural areas were also being regularly used, councillors said.

The council received 634 reports of illegal dumping last year and these resulted in 17 prosecutions and nine convictions. Nineteen of the 66 litter fines issued (28.8 per cent) by the local authority during the year were paid.

The on-the-spot fine for littering is €150, and this can increase to up to €3,000 on conviction. Fines are often waived if an explanation is offered by the recipient.

The council said it was very difficult to secure a conviction or to detect a person littering. The number of on-the-spot fines it has issued and investigations it has carried out into illegal dumping have both fallen. Some 168 fine notices were issued in 2009, compared to 66 last year.

Rodents

Killarney councillor Donal Grady (Independent) said illegal dumping had increased in and around the town since a proposal that waste be paid for by weight was announced last summer.

“You get up in the morning and there are bags of rubbish outside your wall,” he said, adding that complaints about rats were regularly received from housing estates.

“Every house must put down rat poison. The council must adopt a policy of putting rat poison down on a continuous basis especially now with the increase in dumping.”

Cllr Grady said more full-time litter wardens were needed given there are only three serving the county. There are also part-time litter wardens in towns such as Killarney but Cllr Grady said traffic wardens cannot be expected to do the work.

Bobby O’Connell, a Fine Gael councillor from Castleisland, said door-to-door surveys on waste disposal should be conducted in the county.

He wants waste collection firms to provide customer names to the local authority so officials can see which households are signed up. He said residents of every property should be able to explain what they are doing with their litter.

Name and shame

Mr O’Connell also called for a name and shame campaign for those issued with a fine should for littering. However, the council said this might contravene data protection laws.

Mr O’Connell said a hollow near Currow village was a littering blackspot, where “everything is being thrown in”, and that surveillance cameras were being installed at a second dumping site in a forest area on a bog near Knocknaboul.

The council is also planning to install security cameras at some of its 98 bring bank recycling centres in order to identify who is leaving household and other waste at the centres.

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