A recent spate of illegal dumping, or fly-tipping, in a Coralstown townland which drew complaints from residents and ramblers is not the responsibility of the county council. This was confirmed by a spokesperson this week because “as far as we’re concerned, this is private property”.
Complaints were made to the Advertiser about domestic, construction, agricultural, and recyclable waste dumped off a remote road that runs from opposite Mary Lynch’s public house through bog and forest to Smullen’s bog, behind Genesis Fine Arts.
There was some confusion as to whether the refuse pictured was the responsibility of the council, as some residents believed, or that of the private owner of the forestry, believed to be a large landowner from north Westmeath.
“As far as we’re concerned, this is private property and not a public road,” said a spokesperson for the council’s environment department this week.
“That road opposite Mary Lynch’s is only a public road as far as the last inhabited house...it’s a public road from Mary Lynch’s to the kennels in Coralstown...One of the first houses wanted to put up a gate, for obvious reasons, but they couldn’t. Access is still needed for the forestry,” they said.
It was confirmed that the community warden visited the site as recently as last October and left a number of “No Dumping” signs for erection along this road.
“There was a lot of stuff down there, mostly historical. No identification could be got from it,” the spokesman conceded.
“If it’s on private land, we’re not going in to tidy it up. With the best will in the world, we’re on a limited budget. We’re certainly not going onto private lands to tidy up. We can barely keep up with the towns and streets.”
“We have no responsibility for dumping on private lands. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but if we cannot ID the dumpers, it falls to the private landowners to clear it up.”
“Tonnes of illegal dumping has been done down here over the last 10 years,” declared a local resident who said he did most of the cleaning up over the last few years.
He suggested the private landowner was aware of the problem, as “he has walked these lands”, but was “disinterested”.
He claimed the county council conceded the area where the fly-tipping is now prevalent was on public lands, but the spokesperson for the council has denied this.
“Westmeath County Council would stress that anyone wishing to dispose of refuse do so responsibly and not allow some stranger calling to the door to take it away. Homeowners must ensure their refuse contractors have the correct waste permit,” the council spokesperson pleaded.
“If any evidence is found in fly-tipped refuse, the person who used it is responsible and will be summonsed. Ignorance is not an excuse,” they warned.