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Squeaky clean Fermoy

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 5:02pm

It was a clean sweep for Fermoy this week as it topped the poll for Ireland’s cleanest town.

However, it wasn’t all good news for Cork as Mahon and the northside of Cork city were ranked as two of the worst areas in the latest national litter survey.

An Taisce, who carry out the surveys on behalf of Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL), praised Fermoy as having exceeded its usual high standards of cleanliness and added that great care has been taken not just with regard to litter but also with overall presentation. Fermoy’s success, last achieved in 2007, will be marked by a specially commissioned public sculpture in the town this year to the value of €40,000.

The An Taisce report slammed the Maples in Mahon as “not just littered but subject to dumping with soiled nappies strewn about. There were very heavy levels of all manner of litter throughout.”

The report on Cork’s northside highlighted the North Ring Road as being ‘almost landfill-like’ in places and stated “long term littered sites that have been repeatedly highlighted in previous surveys are not being dealt with”.

Responding to the results Labour representatives for Mahon and the northside, Peter Horgan and John Maher, called for an increase in monitoring and fines for those dumping and to adopt zero tolerance measures through the use of CCTV.

Conor Horgan of IBAL said: “At a minimum these repeatedly littered sites, often subject to dumping, need to be targeted and cleaned up. This would be the quickest and most efficient way to make inroads in these areas, but in many cases it is not happening.”

Disadvantaged urban areas occupied the bottom five places in the rankings.

He continued: “Three years ago we deliberately shone a spotlight on specific city areas in the hope that the attention would spur councils and communities into action. It is fair to say we have seen no noticeable improvement in any of these areas - nor have we seen much by way of substantial measures to them turn around.

“The historic development of large areas of social housing has shaped a 'them and us' society and the gap is widening. Litter is a symptom of a greater malaise and keeping these areas as clean and well presented as the rest of a city would over time have significant benefits. We need local authorities to take the lead.”

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