Two incidents of illegal dumping in County Longford at the weekend have incensed the public and local authority officials alike.
Bottles and glass were dumped in a scenic area in Lanesboro while the contents of a refurbished house were disposed of on the outskirts of Newtownforbes.
The Leader can confirm that the illegal dumping in Newtownforbes took place under the cover of darkness and appears to have been meticulously planned.
Meanwhile, Environmental Officer, Longford County Council, Gary Brady told the Leader on Monday that the local authority is investigating both matters.
Mr Brady attended the scene of the dumping in Curryline, Newtownforbes over the weekend and described the incident as “disgraceful”.
“I attended the dumping in Newtownforbes,” he said, before pointing out that what he saw before him was the entire contents of a renovated house.
“There were pallets, slates and all sorts of material from a house, and it was just dumped there.
“It was planned and done late at night.”
Mr Brady said the local authority is seeing a lot more of this type of dumping and also pointed out that not only are people illegally dumping rubbish, many others have restored to burning their domestic and recyclable materials rather than pay to have them removed by a reputable recycling company.
“We would ask the public to be vigilant; if they see someone illegally dumping or somebody maybe in a van of with a trailer acting suspiciously to contact the Gardaí and Longford County Council,” the Environmental Officer continued.
“It is particularly bad in rural areas.”
Meanwhile, the cost of removing illegally dumped rubbish runs into tens of thousands annually for Longford County Council.
And, despite the fact that there have been numerous prosecutions and convictions, fines and costs awarded are not making their way back to the local authority.
Mr Brady says that in most cases, those convicted chose to go to prison rather than pay the fines incurred.
“The year before last, we had 21 litter convictions in the District Court and out of those 21 convictions 19 people chose to go to prison instead of paying the fine,” he added.
“One person disappeared altogether from the radar and another person passed away.
“The cost of disposing of the illegal waste is high and we are trying to get the courts to provide an attachment order on convictions now so that fines and costs can be recouped from salaries, social welfare payments, farm payments or whatever the source of income is for the convicted person.”
He said that the current system does not act as a deterrent.
“If people knew that if they were caught dumping their source of income would be used to secure fines and costs, they would soon stop,” concluded Mr Brady.