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Ennis Bus and Rail station was one of the areas in town that performed poorly in the recent IBAL inspection. Photograph by John Kelly.

Fine Ennis station operators over littering, says councillor

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IF farmers can be fined because people illegally dump on their property, then the operators of Ennis’ bus and train station should have to pay up for any litter found on its grounds, believes Ennis’ deputy mayor.

Councillor Paul Murphy was speaking in the wake of the recent Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) litter league results, which saw the station come in for criticism by the adjudicators despite a strong showing in other parts of the county capital.

“If an innocent farmer can get a fine for having rubbish dumped on his land or ditch, can we not issue the landowners of the station with a fine? That would soften their cough,” he said.

The final survey of 2021 by business group IBAL showed Ennis retaining third spot in the ranking of 40 towns and cities. However, of all the areas surveyed by An Taisce the station ranked the lowest with a B grade.

The adjudicators report stated, “The main litter items within the station grounds were food related (eg, coffee cups, plastic bottles, mineral cans etc) around the area of the bus stop and at the base of the shrubbery to the rear of the station. Cigarette butts were pronounced in the immediate area of the bus stop.”

Ennis’ showing in the litter league was raised at the meeting by Councillor Mary Howard, who is also a member of Ennis Tidy Towns. She said that the results for the town were “great to see”, however she said that Ennis’ train and bus station has once again been the “weakest link”.

She recalled that a representative of Iarnród Éireann had previously met with the council after concerns were raised and a commitment to liaising with the local authority and Ennis Tidy Towns on the condition of the station was made.

Councillor Howard insisted that this has not happened, adding that at one point tidy towns volunteers were told to leave the station during their regular clean ups. She outlined that the station is a shared space between Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann as she called for a plan to be put in place for the facilities’ day to day management.

“It is a very profitable station, the first introduction many people have going into Ennis and Clare, or it might be the last thing they see, and it’s quite depressing.”

She urged that the council once again make contact with the station operators saying, “We need to show them we are serious, they have to do something about this property.”

Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Ann Norton commented that Ennis’ achievement of reaching third spot in the IBAL league is “massive”, agreeing the council needs to follow up with the station operators as it continues to be an issue.

She added that a commitment has been made and she is hopeful that they will work with the council in addressing the matter.

Councillor Pat Daly outlined his belief that the county town has been “deprived” of the top place in the IBAL league due to the state of the station. “We came third, and we should have come first,” he said.

Director of service Carmel Kirby stated that she expects the commitment given by Iarnród Éireann at their last meeting to be honoured, and the matters highlighted by councillors at this latest meeting will be brought to their attention.

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