Database of Athlone homes needed to prevent dumping

The chairman of the Athlone Area committee is calling for greater action to be taken to deal with illegal dumping while protecting those who do follow the law.

Because every home is subject to property tax, there should be no difficulty in assigning each household an identifying number to be used for accessing public services, suggested Cllr John Dolan.

If every house was on a database, there would be a record of whether bins were collected, he said.

“So if a house is not logged in, a warning light would go on, rather than continuing the hard work of the litter warden,” he said.

Cllr Dolan said the best way to manage the problem of fly-tipping and illegal dumping is to see who is actually dealing properly with their waste.

He compared it to having car tax or a TV licence where the law-abiding person can show they are complying and has no problem.

His suggestion was seconded by Cllr Tom Allen, who agreed that illegal dumping has gotten out of hand in recent months.

Cllr Allen said he was amazed to see how much rubbish was visible in ditches now that hedges have been cut.

“People are even coming out of houses and business premises and putting waste in public bins - but at least they’re using bins,” he said.

But those bins will now be modified, according to town clerk Pat Keating, who said this will prevent domestic dumping which he says is done in broad daylight.

It costs the council €300 per week to empty public bins in Moate, which prompted Cllr Allen to observe that €15,000 a year would do a lot of work in a town like Moate.

Kevin “Boxer” Moran was frustrated. “We agree dumping is a terrible issue and we discuss litter at every meeting and it’s still happening.

“If we were sincere, we’d need to set up a committee, sit down with the Gardaí, sit with the judge to see what will work,” he said with regard to preparing prosecutions.

He referred to one area where there are four CCTV cameras which haven’t deterred illegal dumpers because “the cars came and went and we couldn’t even get the registration”.

Town clerk Pat Keating agreed that there is a bigger minority than he would like who are not disposing of their waste responsibly.

He urged more people to get involved in their communities and to work with Tidy Towns to ensure that the message goes out that illegal dumping is unacceptable.

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