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Ennis Mayor critical of ‘blind eye’ turned to illegal dumping site

THE Mayor of the Ennis Municipal District has been sharply critical of a lack of action on illegal dumping on a number of sites around the county, including one on the Tulla Road.
Councillor Ann Norton asked a series of detailed questions ahead of the July meeting of the local authority looking for a progress update – in terms of waste removal and remediation – on hotspots across Clare. The Independent member also sought an update on staff resources and the number of enforcement notices served over the last three years.
Welcoming an official reply, which said that 97% of complaints made since 2018 had been resolved, Councillor Norton voiced disappointment at the fact that the Tulla Road site has not been tackled. “I was first asked to raise this issue some years ago,” she said. “Now, once again, there are questions over what is being done. The 3% of unresolved dumping sites are always an issue. This includes the site on the Tulla Road where there are also issues around flooding. I’m quite disappointed that this particular site has had no works to remove illegal waste. How long does it take to enforce the law? It’s two-and-a-half to three years later and we’re at the same juncture. It’s as if a blind eye is being taken and it’s not acceptable to have no works done.”
In a detailed reply to the motion, Senior Engineer Cyril Feeney outlined that the Waste Enforcement Team, which has responsibility for inspecting illegal dumping sites throughout Clare, received a total of 2,987 complaints since 2018. “Of these cases 97% have been successfully resolved, with 3% remaining open. Each enforcement case is considered on an individual basis and enforcement action depends on the nature of the individual circumstances.”
The response said that the timeframe for remediation varies depending on “complexity, scale and legal issues involved”. It noted that support and advice are provided in cases where private property is subject to illegal waste and littering by third parties. “Under the waste management legislation,” the response stated, “there is a duty on landowners to secure lands and prevent illegal waste activity taking place on their lands”.
In terms of the Environment Section’s actions on illegal dumping, Mr Feeney’s reply outlined how the four municipal districts are routinely patrolled “in both a pro-active patrol capacity and in response to complaints received from the public and other government agencies i.e. the EPA, An Taisce, Coillte, etc”. Also detailed were strategies including the enforcement of waste management bye-laws, initiatives to identify high risk areas and awareness and education activities.
In relation to staff, Mr Feeney outlined that resources are determined by the Department of the Environment. The Waste Enforcement Team includes a Waste Enforcement Officer, Environmental Patrol Officer, three Environmental Community Wardens and a part-time Litter Warden. “These officers work in co-operation with other members of the office-based Waste Enforcement Team and various departments within the council to monitor, enforce and ensure removal of illegal waste throughout the county.”
The reply also outlined how a total of 110 enforcement notices have been served on landowners, since 2018, instructing them to remove waste from their lands. A total of 627 fines have been issued to individuals for offences under the Litter Pollution Act and Waste Management Bye-laws.
Members of the public with concerns are encouraged to report illegal waste activity by contacting the anti-litter hotline on 1800 606 706 or 065 6846331. Reports can be made by email to enviroff@clarecoco.ie or by post to Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis.

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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