Half of Cork litter fines go unpaid

Half of Cork litter fines go unpaid
Man throwing litter out of car

ALMOST 50% of litter fines in Cork go unpaid — a situation that has sparked calls for the city and county councils to name and shame more litter louts by hauling them into court.

A get-tough approach has been called for after it was revealed that Cork County Council’s anti-litter unit issued 322 fines last year, but just 54% of these have been paid.

County Hall officials processed payment for 175 of the 322 fines and 30 cases have been sent for prosecution.

Similarly, up to November of last year, Cork City Council issued 755 fines, 405 of which have been paid.

The founder of Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) organisation, Dr Tom Cavanagh, says anti-dumping measures are not working and offenders do not fear being caught.

Mr Cavanagh said more people need to be pursued through the courts to send out the message that dumping will not be tolerated.

“Councils are very slow to bring the dumpers into court. They do catch some but they don’t bring them to court. The Gardaí don’t want to enforce it and the councils are definitely weak at it,” he added.

Mr Cavanagh said the best deterrent to dumping and littering is to take people to court and name and shame them.

“It does cost money. The councils may only recoup a small amount, compared to what they spend on court proceedings, but the saving is in stopping dumping because every time litter is dumped, the council has to get rid of it,” Dr Cavanagh said.

“The background to this is we enact a lot of laws that we don’t actually enforce and it disrespects the law and the dumpers don’t take it seriously,” he added.

Meanwhile, a number of county councillors have highlighted a worsening litter problem in the commuter belt around the city.

Blarney-based councillor, Kevin Conway, (IND) claimed the number of litter fines was “very, very low” and said he had driven a five-mile radius around his home and saw litter on every road. Blarney-Macroom representative, Des O’Grady (SF), said bring sites in his area had been overflowing during Christmas.

Ballincollig-Carrigaline representative, Seamus McGrath, said the amount of litter fines issued for dumping was very low and said litter fines had been issued to businesses that had erected unauthorised signage. “The situation is not improving. It’s getting worse,” he said.

Cork County Council received 118 calls to their illegal-dumping line last year and the anti-litter unit dealt with 1,796 fly-tipping complaint investigations, a 64% increase on 2016. They undertook 2,001 clean-ups and 42 prosecutions were taken, one of which has been concluded.

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