Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has given a cautious welcome to a new Government initiative aimed at tackling illegal dumping.  However, she’s warning that unless proper resources are allocated to the plan, the problem of illegally dumped rubbish will continue to blight local communities.

Deputy Smyth commented, “I welcome the fact that Minister Naughten has acknowledged the seriousness of this issue and has devised a plan to try and tackle the scourge of illegal dumping.  This has been a serious problem in Cavan over the last number of months – in January alone more than 40 cases were reported to my office.  Waste was discovered along rivers, and in housing estates, fields and walkways.  It is not only destroying the appearance of these areas; it also poses a major environmental threat.

“The situation has been exacerbated by a drastic reduction in litter warden staff levels across Cavan and Monaghan.  Cavan has lost four part-time litter wardens, while Monaghan has seen an even more dramatic cut – down from two full time litter wardens and eight part time wardens to just one litter warden.  Unless the Government is prepared to invest resources into seriously addressing this issue, it will continue to spread.  The enforcement of the current litter laws also needs to be more robust.  Many people are evading fines and these are not acting as a deterrent to people to stop dumping.

“A strategy to deal with illegal dumping has been a long time coming, and while I’m pleased that the Minister is finally moving on it, he must ensure that the sufficient resources are allocated to deal with the problem effectively.  It’s action, not platitudes that we need.

“I will be monitoring the progress of this plan very closely and will hold Minister Naughten to account if the targets in it are not met”, concluded Deputy Smyth.