Jennifer O’Connell: Ireland is swimming in filth. Why do we tolerate it?

Imagine what we could have if we treated this issue like the public health crisis it actually is

The fierce debate raging about the future of the Poolbeg chimneys makes the relative silence about the toxic waste swirling beneath all the more startling. Photograph: iStock

The fierce debate raging about the future of the Poolbeg chimneys makes the relative silence about the toxic waste swirling beneath all the more startling. Photograph: iStock

The attitude of Dubliners to the Poolbeg chimneys has always puzzled me.

The 1970s industrial behemoths are regarded with a fiercely defensive, romantic attachment, and immortalised on “mugs, T-shirts, key rings, calendars, cartoons, postcards, wood carvings, book covers, silk scarves, posters, paintings,” as a letter writer to this newspaper recently pointed out. It is, she said, testament “to their enduring importance to Dublin Bay and in our hearts”.

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