Cork South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that the beauty of West Cork is being blighted by illegal dumping and bogus waste collection services, and that it is jeopardising the area’s tourism product.

“One only has to take a walk out many of our country roads, and you will see rubbish dumped on the side of the road causing eye sores for residents and tourists alike.

“Too many people think that it is acceptable to dump their household waste on the side of the road in areas that are often incredibly scenic and attractive to tourists.

“It’s just not on. West Cork is without doubt one of the most picturesque places on earth, let alone Ireland. It’s shocking that a very small number of people would attempt to ruin the natural beauty of the area, risk jobs and damage the area’s reputation.

“As well as dumping by individuals, there has been a growing trend of people pretending to be licensed waste collection providers. This needs to be stamped out as many people are being fooled into handing over large sums of money on the assumption that the waste is being dealt with appropriately.

“I am calling on all those living or working in West Cork to be vigilant to any acts of illegal dumping. The Government must ensure that Cork County Council has the required resources to deal with both the clean-up of illegal dumping, and importantly to investigate the causes of these acts of environmental vandalism.

“Public shaming of those who illegal dump, in conjunction to fines and potential imprisonment must await all those caught dumping illegally.

“West Cork’s tourism industry is a vital component of the local economy. Anything that potentially risks its viability must be dealt with using the full force of the law,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.