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Dirty Dublin no more, as capital declared 'clean'

The Irish Business Against Litter Anti-Litter League 2013 results are out today.

THE LATEST LITTER report from Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) shows that Dublin is now ‘clean’ – and that the cleanest town in Ireland is Cavan.

The results of IBAL’s Anti-Litter League 2013 are out today, and show a positive result for tourism – but that pockets of our cities remain litter blackspots.

IBAL said that a growing concern in the country is the amount of vacant premises in town centres.

Clean cities

The survey by An Taisce of 42 towns and cities showed three-quarters of areas to be as clean, or cleaner, than European norms.

Last year’s winner, Kilkenny, is now in second place, replaced by Cavan this year.

According to IBAL, for the first time both Dublin and Cork City are clean to European norms, as are the roads from Dublin Airport.

Meanwhile, Dublin – which was previously fifth from the bottom of the league – was ranked ‘cleaner than European norms’ and is now in 14th position.

Waterford City is in third place, while Limerick City and Cork City both attained ‘clean to European norms’ status.

“It has taken over 10 years to get to the point where Dublin is as clean as other European cities, and it’s a real turning point in the fight against litter,” says IBAL’s Dr Tom Cavanagh.

The majority of Irish towns have been clean for a number of years now. Most tourists visiting them, however, were being confronted with litter in Dublin and Cork, creating a poor first impression of our country. Only now can we really promote Ireland as being genuinely clean.

Clean streets

The report praised the shopping streets of Grafton Street, Henry Street and O’Connell Street, noting that “Parnell Street, in particular, has improved considerably”.

It also said that Custom House Quay and Bord Gais Energy Theatre and environs were “beautifully presented and maintained”.

Monaghan, Ennis and Mullingar were branded ‘littered’, with a further 7 towns ‘moderately littered’.

A Tale of Two Cities

While Dublin as a whole received its best ever rating, the survey indicated that high-density low-income pockets of cities continue to suffer from widespread litter.

These include Dublin’s Inner City (North), which was described as a ‘litter blackspot’. Other areas highlighted for rubbish included the North Strand, which IBAL said suffers from ‘long term abuse and neglect’. It also noted that ‘dumping on a widespread scale’ affected the Summerhill area.

‘All manner of rubbish had accumulated’ on Portland Row, with ‘graffiti’, ‘derelict sites’ and ‘large accumulations of litter’ seen on Upper Sheriff Street.


IBAL said towns are suffering from the growing number of vacant properties, typically shops, which attract litter and graffiti. The survey praised Galway’s West End for encouraging pop-up shops, murals and civic spaces to replace derelict sites.

IBAL said it was disappointed that 7 in 10 recycling centres nationwide were littered, and a number were litter blackspots, including those in Ennis and Ballina.

But inspectors praised the Dundalk recycling centre for being ‘in a league of its own’.

Over 80 per cent of sports grounds were deemed to be litter-free.

Over three-quarters of hotel grounds surveyed were free of litter, but a small number were ‘seriously littered’, due to litter in the areas surrounding them.

These were: Downhill House Hotel in Ballina, the West County Hotel in Ennis, the Midleton Park Hotel in Cork and the Welcome Inn in Castlebar.

Read: Blog shines spotlight on Dublin city’s illegal dumping problem>

Read: IBAL Litter League 2012: Where did your town finish?>

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