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Photo: John Kelly

Red tape around CCTV helping illegal dumpers


FRUSTRATION has been expressed by an East Clare councillor over the ongoing delay in rolling out CCTV in the fight to stop illegal dumping.
Councillor Alan O’Callaghan has raised the issue numerous times at forums including Clare County Council and the Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
The issue is of national concern, with figures suggesting some local authorities are spending well over €1m annually to tackle the problem.
Advice, sought from the Data Protection Commissioner has to-date vetoed the use of CCTV by local authorities, without the express permission of the Garda Commissioner.
South East Clare is a particular blackspot in the view of Councillor O’Callghan. He has previously told fellow members of the Killaloe Municipal District he believes unlicensed operators are taking large amounts of waste from Limerick into remote forested areas.
Raising the matter again at the meeting of the council’s committee on physical development, Councillor O’Callaghan was told that the new Circular Economy Bill makes provision for the use of CCTV at dumping hot spots. Senior Engineer Cyril Feeney outlined the Bill is still going through the Oireachtas.
“In terms of a time line, I would like to see progress before the end of the year,” he said. “However, we won’t see what exactly it entails until then as it is still at Bill stage in Dáil.”
Speaking to The Champion, Councillor O’Callaghan said it was the issue was causing great annoyance in communities blighted by fly-tipping.
“It’s just not progressing fast enough,” he said.
“You’d have to wonder why all of this is necessary because every time there’s a road collision Gardaí are calling for people to give them dash cam and other video footage.
“We really need a deterrent. This time of year, lots of people seem to be having a pre-Christmas clearance and there’s a spike in dumping.
“People know there’s no CCTV and so the fear of being caught is gone. All of the regular blackspots are starting to escalate again. A lot of the rural minor roads are strewn with black bags and furniture is starting to appear.”
The Kilmurry man commended the council for their “Trojan work” on the matter.
“An awful lot of hard work is done by the council and, as councillors, we’ve often been out helping them because they can be so busy,” he said.
“The problem too is that you can just leave three bags in an area for any length of time because suddenly that turns into 20. Some people seem to think it’s ok because others are doing it.
“There was a good bit lately between Cragganowen, Kilmurry and Tulla and that had to be cleared, otherwise it would begin to accumulate.
“Obviously, vermin is another big problem if there’s any refuse lying around.”
Councillor O’Callaghan urged people to make sure they are using licensed waste collectors and to recycle where possible.
‘What I notice is that around 70-80% of the material in bags that are dumped could actually be recycled,” he said.
“I’d urge people to use the services in Scariff and Shannon. The council had an initiative at the civic amenity centre in Inagh where people could take a number of mattresses free-of-charge on a particular day and that worked really well.
“The council is doing an awful lot to address the dumping issue and it’s very frustrating when we can’t get stuff like CCTV going. I’ve been in touch with all of our Oireachtas members to urge them to progress this Bill.”

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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