While Fermoy is again among our cleanest towns, Cork city areas are struggling, according to the latest survey by Irish Business Against Litter.

Mixed results in litter survey

A new litter survey published this week has shown that while Fermoy is again among our cleanest towns, Cork’s city areas are struggling.

The latest survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) showed Fermoy in seventh place, with Cork city centre and Mahon both ‘littered’ and Cork northside again ‘heavily littered’ towards the foot of the table. PPE litter was found to be at its highest level since the pandemic began.

Naas finished ahead of Portlaoise and Ennis to record its first win in the annual rankings. There was a slight fall in the number of clean towns nationwide, to 22.

2021 was the 19th year of the IBAL Anti-Litter League and ranked 40 towns and cities across Ireland.

The An Taisce report for Fermoy stated a strong Tidy Towns presence is very evident in Fermoy and with it a concern and interest in litter. It is one of the few towns with notices reminding the public that dropping cigarette butts constitutes littering. The provision of cigarette butt /gum units on street poles and ‘compostable’ bin are initiatives which should be rolled out widely throughout the country. Seven out of ten sites got the top litter grade, with some of them deserving special mention. Fermoy Town Park was in superb condition, the Riverwalk was very much deserving of the top litter grade and Patrick Street was spotless. By far the most heavily littered site was the Mart Car Park.

Cork city centre

There were just five top ranking sites out of a total of 25 surveyed in Cork city. This impacted the overall ranking. If some of the moderately littered sites could be improved, this would raise the city’s ranking significantly. Some sites which were noted in previous surveys have shown no or little improvement. Examples included N20 Commons Road, Dyke Road and Kennedy Quay. Thomas Davis Street was one of the most heavily littered sites surveyed. A building site and No 23 harboured heavy levels of a wide variety of litter. The other litter blackspot was Carmelite Place, Western Road. Sites showing some improvement included Sarsfield Road Roundabout, ‘Headways’ Carrigrohane Road and Wilton Road, though they were still moderately littered. The N40, J6 to J10 showed huge improvements, going from a seriously littered site to the top litter grade.


Mahon remains littered, with little change over the past two surveys, and a dearth of clean sites. Some improvement was noted at Ringmahon Road, though it was still moderately littered. The residential area of Lakelands Crescent harboured significant litter as did the R852 approach and the pedestrian link off Ringmahon Road to Aldi. By far the freshest and cleanest sites surveyed in Mahon were Mahon Retail Park and City Gate Park-both were excellent.

Cork northside

This was another disappointing result with evidence of more litter than in previous surveys. There was only one A grade site, at Pope’s Quay which was litter-free despite being a very heavily trafficked area. The two D+ sites at Ballyvalone Road and Kilmore Road) require immediate intervention and cleaning. Discarded masks were more widespread in this survey than any previously. There was evidence of ongoing mechanical cleaning of road/street kerb margin during the survey, however due to die back of vegetation long lie litter is more evident. This is impacting grades and should be cleaned up now while exposed. This would greatly improve the overall cleanliness of the area.