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Photograph by John Kelly

Councillors highlight East Clare fly-tipping concerns

A DUMPING incident blocked a road in South East Clare and resulted in a county councillor having to get a tractor out to clear the way for children travelling to school, the local authority has heard.
At the May meeting, Councillor Pat O’Gorman described Gallows Hill, Cratloe and Meelick as “particular hotspots for dumping”.
He made his comments in support of a motion from Councillor PJ Ryan, who asked the authority to reduce the cost of disposing of mattresses and suites of furniture, in the hope that it might discourage fly-tipping.
Councillor Ryan said he had to report mattresses dumped on the road and the riverbank in Meelick. “I was struck by the cost,” he said.
“It needed a JCB, a truck, a general operative for traffic, a general operative to handle the lifting and an overseer.
“Within days, I had to get furniture removed from a nearby hill. It costs €20 to dispose of a mattress and €50 for a three-piece suite, with €10 for cushions. If costs were reduced, people might go to the civic amenity centres,” he said.
The motion was seconded by Councillor Alan O’Callaghan. He suggested that levy on the sale of new goods might be the answer. “When I buy tyres, there’s a levy to cover the cost of disposal,” he said.
Councillor Cillian Murphy gave his full support to the motion, highlighting the Galway-based social enterprise Bounce Back which takes mattresses and sells on reusable parts.
Councillor Clare Colleran-Molloy noted that in America, companies collect old items when someone buys new furniture. Councillor Donna McGettigan backed the motion too, as did Councillors John Crowe and Pat Daly.
Councillor Joe Cooney asked that skips might be put in dumping hotspots for a day or two.
Councillor Pat Hayes noted that a man had been looking at setting up an enterprise similar to Bounce Back in Clare, and suggested he might be supported.
Councillor Joe Killeen said it was time that biodegradable material be used for furniture.
Councillor Michael Begley said a system whereby material could be disposed of free-of-charge at a controlled location, over short periods, had worked. Cathaoirleach Mary Howard drew attention to the response from Senior Engineer Cyril Feeney which noted that funding is being sought for another ‘amnesty day’.
“From our experience, items such as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which are free to dispose of and recycle in all our amenity sites, continue to be illegally dumped on the side of public roads,” it said.
“The majority of people in County Clare recycle and dispose of their waste in the correct manner but unfortunately there is a small cohort who regardless of charges, dispose of their waste and recyclable materials illegally.
“We have again sought funding from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications under their Anti-Dumping Initiative (ADI) to run another amnesty day for the disposal of bulky items.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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