Drogheda community must work together to tackle blight of dumping and vandalism

The rising level of illegal dumping, criminal damage and antisocial behaviour in Drogheda is having a massively draining effect on Louth County Council’s annual budget, diverting funding and staff away from many more positive projects.

his was the clear message from council officials at the February meeting of local councillors, the first to be held in their Fair Street offices in 13 years.

In a week when vast numbers of black sacks containing household rubbish have been cleared from two local estates, the lighting on Dominic’s Bridge was vandalised and a garda patrol car was damaged with a brick outside the Cable centre in Moneymore, councillors are calling for more public responsibility for the state of the town.

Independent Councillor Kevin Callan says action must be taken now to stop the increase which is having a very real negative impact on the people in Drogheda.

“We have only just made strides in improving the appearance of our town and this work is being seriously undermined by high levels of illegal dumping. We have also seen projects like St Dominic’s Bridge where thousands of taxpayers money had been spent and now we see people dumping plants in the river, ripping up lighting and threatening people who use the route as a walking and running circuit,” said Cllr Callan angrily.

“The levels of anti-social behaviour are both escalating at the same time and we must start to treat this as a really serious policing issue across the town and also whilst we will continue to push to improve how our town looks between the Council, Tidy Towns, Drogheda Chamber and Love Drogheda BIDS but we simply cannot all keep up with what is going on”.

Cllr Callan said that despite all of the work of the council, volunteers and bodies like the Implementation Board and the Gardai the rates of intimidating behaviour, dumping in broad daylight and fly tipping are on the increase.

“So much taxpayers money and council staff and volunteer hours are going into positive work tackling this issue and we are facing increasing and troubling rates of behaviour that are impacting on our town,” he added.

Mayor of Drogheda Michelle Hall says it seems to be a worrying mind set across the community that it is acceptable to litter or leave rubbish for others to clean.

“Sadly it’s not a minority in the town anymore; I drive along the Baltray Road and it is disgusting,” said Cllr Hall. “People think it’s okay to throw rubbish out a car window, and we can’t keep cleaning up after them.”

Director of Services Paddy Donnelly said €2m a year is being spent on cleaning services, and despite all their efforts, there seems to be a push against them in the town.

“There are a number of instances in communities where we can see the gathering of black bags over a weekend; you pay for electricity, you pay for gas, you pay for television, you can also pay for waste management services like everybody else,” he said.

He says when staff is having to work extra on clearing illegal dumping or littering, or cleaning vandalism or vacant properties, they are being diverted from essential maintenance or positive projects.

“It takes funds from the roads department, it means vacant properties take longer to get back into service, so we need the whole community to get behind us on this,” adds Mr Donnelly.

Cllr Eileen Tully said she feels the education needs to start at grassroots level with children.

“It would be money well spent to go into every school and tell then the effects of illegal dumping; rodents, infection, smell,” said Cllr Tully. “And children are great at setting adults straight, and we are wasting our time shouting at the adults who do this.”


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