Council discusses problem of illegal dumping

The council has sought legal advice regarding whether it can publish CCTV images of people dumping illegally online and on public display boards, in order to aid in identifying perpetrators.

Frank Dolan, district administrator, said the council works to identify perpetrators of illegal dumping in the Athlone area, but that help from the public in doing so would be beneficial.

The issue was raised at Monday’s meeting of the Athlone Municipal District following a discussion about the use of CCTV cameras at bring banks around Athlone.

Councillors heard that a CCTV contractor employed since 2016 has been surveying bring bank sites under council control, of which there are seven in the district.

During 2016 and 2017, the contractor spent 19 weeks monitoring these sites at a cost to the council of €4,844. Seventy-three fines were issued and €3,750 recouped from these.

So far in 2018, the contractor has undertaken surveillance for two weeks at a cost of €500, but has already issued 10 fines, with €450 collected.

Despite a deficit in the money spent on the contractor and the amount collected in fines, councillors collectively voiced their support for the continued use of CCTV.

Discussing illegal dumping, Cllr John Dolan (FG ) said he did not believe the issue should come down to money. He said any consideration of income and expenditure must also take into account how much money is spent cleaning up after people, which can reach into the thousands, he said.

Cllr Dolan called for the perpetrators of illegal dumping to be made pay the cost of this clean-up, on top of any fine they might receive for breaking the law.

Cllrs Ailish McManus (IND ) branded the area around the bring banks in the Fair Green area “a disgrace”.

Cllr McManus said the area does the town an injustice. She added that part of the problem lies with the frequency with which the banks are being emptied. Many people are “doing the right thing” in bringing their bottles to the banks, she said, only to find them full, and leaving their boxes of bottles alongside them as a result.

District manager Pat Keating said the issue of bottle banks is separate from illegal dumping. He added that he was not aware of the banks lying full for extended periods, but that he will look into the issue.

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