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One councillor in Trim believes banning gum could be an effective way of banishing a regular eyesore. holisticmonkey via Flickr
Sticky Situation

Councillor wants Trim to become Ireland's first chewing gum-free town

Although shopkeepers have rejected the idea, Fine Gael councillor Gerry Reilly wants the town to examine plans to outlaw chewing gum.

A TOWN COUNCILLOR in the Co Meath town of Trim has urged the town’s retailers to stop selling chewing gum – and for the town to become the first one in Ireland to outlaw the sale of the product.

Fine Gael councillor Gerry Reilly told last week’s meeting of the Town Council that a recent visit to Singapore – where the substance has been outlawed since 1994 – had inspired him to wonder whether a similar ban could be proposed in Trim, which was already named Ireland’s most litter-free town.

“The absence of chewing gum was very notable,” Reilly told, adding that if Trim would stand out among towns in Ireland – and in Europe – if it followed suit and removed the problem of chewing gum stains on the town’s footpaths.

The town council had recently spent €3.5 million on new footpaths and streetscapes, he added – an investment which could be safeguarded if the town adopted bye-laws banning the sale of gum.

Though Reilly says the proposal was well-received by other members at the council meeting last week, the town’s retailers appear to have responded more coolly to the proposal: a straw poll of retailers carried out by the Meath Chronicle suggested that the Town Council would find it difficult to sway traders into abiding by any such ban.

One shopkeeper told the paper’s Paul Neilan that retailers were “already struggling” – arguing that a ban on a popular product would make things even more difficult for the passive retail trade – while the chairman of its chamber of commerce believed it was more appropriate to enforce littering laws already in place.

It is understood that the Town Council is not likely to take any further action on the proposal unless the attitude of the traders changes.

“I just put it out there to test the waters – though the traders would have to agree on, so we’d need a consensus from the traders. If we got agreement from the traders we could go ahead of it,” Reilly said.

“I do believe it’s after opening up a debate which might lead to something.”

Do you think your town should ban the sale of chewing gum?

Poll Results:

No (304)
Yes (254)
I don't know (24)

Update: And the winner of the cleanest town in Ireland is…

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