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Facebookers get to grips with Ballyalla Lake clean-up

LOCAL amenity, Ballyalla Lake received a much-needed clean-up at the weekend due to a Facebook campaign. Over 700 people joined the Facebook campaign calling for the site beside the lake to be cleaned up.
The campaign was spearheaded by a local woman, Kiara O’Rourke, who said she knew something had to be done to improve the amenity because it was no longer a nice place to bring her children.
Through Facebook, she linked up with hundreds of other Ennis people who wanted to clean up Ballyalla. On Sunday, she and others, who had joined the Facebook campaign, met up at Ballyalla Lake and collected refuse bags and barrels of rubbish.
The aim of the campaign now is to keep the area clean and not to let as much rubbish as was there before the clean-up build up again.
Ennis town councillor, Mary Howard, is also involved in the campaign as are a number of members of Clare Young Fine Gael, who took part in the clean-up last Sunday.
Councillor Howard said that there are currently 724 people involved in the Facebook campaign.
“I believe the supporters of this Facebook page are showing clear support to rejuvenate the area,” she commented.
She has set up a petition on the issue of giving Ballyalla a Facelift. The petition is to Clare County Council, and states that the campaigners want  “the immediate removal of rocks and boulders from Ballyalla and the completion of kerbed car-parking spaces started a few years ago”. It further states that the reinstatement of the playground on the Ballyalla Lake site must be made a priority. The petition currently has over 300 signatures.
Councillor Howard is also calling for the installation of CCTV to combat illegal dumping in the area in particular on the Drumcliff Road, which she says is a noticeable black-spot.
Meanwhile, Councillor Johnny Flynn has called for mobile surveillance cameras to be used to combat widespread littering and dumping of waste in areas of Ennis.
Councillor Tony Mulqueen said that the amount of illegal dumping in Ennis was “disgraceful”.
Executive engineer with Clare County Council, Robert Burns, in a written reply to the motion, pointed out that a dedicated waste enforcement section that, among other things, responds and takes appropriate enforcement action in relation to waste and litter complaints. “Where evidence of acts of littering or illegal waste is found then action is taken under relevant litter pollution and waste management legislation. In 2009, a total of 269 litter fines were issued and 22 prosecutions were taken under either the Litter Pollution Acts or the Waste Management Acts, within the Clare County Council functional area,” he said.
He added that CCTV surveillance has been used for a number of years by Clare County Council to combat illegal waste and litter activity at bring banks and at locations susceptible to illegal dumping, with high levels of success.
“A specialist CCTV surveillance and monitoring company has been engaged by the council and is currently providing that CCTV surveillance and monitoring at sites vulnerable to illegal dumping in County Clare, including Ennis and its environs. As might be appreciated, information concerning the exact locations and dates of deployment of CCTV surveillance cannot be divulged for security and operational reasons. It is the expressed intention of Clare County Council to obtain evidence where illegal waste/litter activity occurs and pursue offenders to the greatest extent possible, including prosecution through the courts,” he explained.

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