TULLAMORE Town Council members adopted a Litter Management Plan for 2011-2013 at their recent monthly meeting.
“It won’t make the litter go away,” said Cllr Sean O’Brien, saying he was disappointed that litter is still a huge issue. “But it will go a long way to go to getting on top of it,” he said.
Cllr O’Brien said litter associations and schools need to get on board to control the situation.
He said that many recycling facilities are too small for demand. “The one on the Daingean road fills up so quickly. It is not emptied often enough. People are still leaving stuff on the ground,” he said.
Cllr Molly Buckley paid tribute to the great part played by Tullamore Tidy Towns, the credit union, residents associations and businesses.
“The town has improved a lot. Great work has been carried out in trying to improve the town. Being clean to European Standards is a great achievement,” said Cllr Buckley.
Cllr Tommy McKeigue said adopting the plan was great progress. He said bank holidays saw problems at the bring banks. “The biggest problem is posters on windows. Owners should put up a display and keep the windows clean. Posters pull down the whole thing,” he said.
He said the credit union were a main player and with the back lanes nearly done. “Tullamore can look forward to good marks again if we can maintain it.”
Cllr Tony McCormack complemented Covidien who recently carried out a litter clean up along the canal and painted the seats in front of the Priest’s house. He said there had been huge improvements around the town in the last number of years.
“There is a problem with people holding onto rubbish in their back gardens and it’s attracting rodents. For some it’s genuinely that they haven’t enough to go to the landfil, I think it’s €16 for a car. We are going to have to make it more affordable. Some people are just lazy as well,” he said.
Cllr Declan Harvey said maybe businesses should rent out their windows to other businesses to put displays in and said it would take away from the dirty look.
Cllr McCormack said shop units had contacted a number of estate agents and some sports clubs would be putting information in some windows to take the untidy look off them.
Cllr Sinead Dooley said she had one reservation about the new plan which she hoped would not “come back to haunt us.”
She said the cost of cleaning after major events are held in the town needed to be looked at and what level of costs the council would levy on groups who hold the events for cleaning up afterwards.
Town Engineer Paul Devaney said last year surveillance cameras were installed at the bring banks, but if the banks are too big or too small “people will still do it.” He said people are still leaving their empty boxes there.
He said the council needed to go back into schools, as although the schools have Green Flags, students seem to forget when they leave school.
Gabriel Conlon said the council was monitoring and watching in relation to the bring banks on the Daingean road and they are fining. He said property owners who left posters outside their premises were in breach of the law.
He said the council could only deal with its own tenants in terms of rubbish in back yards, unless it was visible from the road. Mr Conlon said that clean up costs from events were considerable and organisations had to be responsible for events they hold. Town Manager Declan Kirrane said money shouldn’t have to spent on cleaning the town describing it as “the greatest waste of money” and said its management was under the control of businesses. “The money would well be spent somewhere else,” he said.
He said as it stands the council may have to curtail its street sweeping plan. “We don’t have it in our budget at the moment.”
He said people were obliged to dispose of litter and the local authority had the power to ask them how they are doing it and to prove it.
Cllr Brendan Killeavy said the fishing club picked up 35 bags of rubbish along the canal, a lot of which was bottles and cans. He suggested getting Waterways Ireland on board when the new bridges are being built and the water is being reduced, to clean up the canal. He also said that the Tullamore River was in a bad condition, and was the responsibility of the OPW.
Cllr Tony McCormack suggested that people organising events in the town pay a bond to the council before the event, which can be held if they do not carry out their duty in relation to cleaning up afterwards, to which all councillors agreed.