Two-thirds of litter fines going unpaid in Dublin city

Annual cost burden of collecting illegally dumped rubbish in region of €650,000

Anit-litter activists say rubbish is being dumped illegally on city streets to an alarming extent. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Anit-litter activists say rubbish is being dumped illegally on city streets to an alarming extent. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

Dublin city litter louts are frustrating prosecutions using a range of measures, including returning fines with the words “I do not have an international treaty with you” on them.

Anti-litter campaigner Cieran Perry, a member of Dublin City Council, said rubbish was being dumped illegally on city streets to an alarming extent while fewer than a third of fines issued to pop-up shops, households and individuals in the centre of the city had been paid in recent years.

Arising from a large number of questions put to council management since he was elected in 2009, Mr Perry said he had concluded that most litter louts did not get prosecuted – and of those who did, most did not pay.

Replies to a question tabled in January 2015 show that Dublin City Council issued 70 litter fines to a person running a discount shop over the period January 2013-December 2014.

“Originally the fines were forwarded to the business address and were returned with a label stating: ‘I do not recognise you. I do not understand your intent. I do not have an international treaty with you. No assured value’,” the council said.

Home address

The council said reminders came back in a similar fashion. Summonses for nonpayment of fines were not accepted or collected at the post office. The council then received permission to serve the summonses by ordinary post.

As of January 2015, 10 convictions in the courts had been obtained, but the reply to Mr Perry’s question noted that “two of these convictions have been appealed successfully” .

Data protection Mr Perry was told the council could not tell him if any of the 70 fines was

ever paid by the individual in question because “the data protection [sic] does not allow a local authority to provide such information”.

In reply to a question tabled in May 2016, Mr Perry was told that 691 fines were issued by five litter wardens in the central Dublin district in 2015. This, he said, amounted to 140 fines per warden or “less than one fine every second day”.

Mr Perry said the figures implied the streets were clean. But, he said, “my information is that almost 70 tonnes of illegal dumping were collected in the inner city between 26th December [2016] and 4th January [2017] alone”.

A reply to a question tabled this month showed the annual cost of collecting illegally dumped rubbish in the city was about €650,000.

“This doesn’t include the removal of illegal dumping from flat complexes or parks,” Mr Perry said.

Further answers to Mr Perry’s questions reveal that of the 691 fines issued in the central Dublin district 2015, only 218 were paid, about 31 per cent. In 2014 there were 1,115 fines issued and 336 paid, again about 30 per cent. In 2013, the figures given to Mr Perry indicate that 1,321 fines were issued and 278 paid, which amounts to about 21 per cent.