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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 23 February, 2020

80% of Irish towns 'as clean' as European average

More than 80 per cent of Irish towns are clean or cleaner than the European average – but Dublin’s north inner city has been branded a blackspot.

Image: Dave Massey via Shutterstock

MORE THAN 80 per cent of Irish towns are clean or cleaner than the European average, according to the 2012 litter survey from business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL).

Twenty-two of the cities and towns from 42 surveyed by An Taisce were deemed ‘cleaner than European norms’, with a further 13 classed ‘as clean to european norms’.

Dr Tom Cavanagh, Chairman of IBAL described the improvement in cleanliness across the country as “quite remarkable“, saying: “Ten years ago we could not have imagined that over half our towns would be cleaner than their European counterparts.”


Ireland’s biggest cities – Dublin, Cork and Limerick – were all found to be moderately littered, However, Dublin’s north inner city received one of the worst reports and was branded a litter blackspot.

Meanwhile, the roads surrounding Dublin airport – a former litter blackspot – were noted to have significantly improved and was deemed to be cleaners than European norms.

“There’s a telling contrast in the fortunes of two Dublin areas here,” said Cavanagh. “The North Inner City has recorded one of the worst results we’ve seen in the past 10 years. Given that a great number of visitors to Ireland may be exposed to these areas not long after landing in Dublin, this performance risks tarnishing The Gathering experience.”

“Yet there has been a remarkable turnaround in the Airport environs, and this is due to Fingal County Council reworking its cleaning schedules. The key routes are now being cleaned once a month whereas previously it was a wholly inadequate once a year. This makes a big difference to visitors arriving in this country.”

Absentee landlords

IBAL cited both absentee landlords and local property owners such as NAMA and Irish Rail as causes of the litter problem in the North Inner City. “On the one hand we have derelict buildings whose landlords are nowhere to be seen and so cannot be held to account for the surrounding litter and dumping,” said Cavanagh. “On the other we have state-owned property owners who are just not fulfilling their obligations under the Litter Pollution Acts to keep the areas outside and within their premises free of litter.”

While Maynooth, Carlow and Dundalk were found to fall short of European standards, for the first time since IBAL started the league in 2002, there were no towns in the ‘littered’ or ‘seriously littered’ categories.

Dog fouling and gum were noted to be prevalent everywhere, the former particularly in Wexford and Tramore, where dogs are often walked along the promenades. The student town of Maynooth was notable for gum, as was Tallaght town centre.

Read: Local councillor says Dublin City is ‘turning into a dump’

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