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Killarney again runner-up while Tralee is ‘clean’ in IBAL litter survey 

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The final litter survey of 2020 by business group Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) shows Killarney in second place in the ranking of 37 towns and cities, with Tralee retaining its clean status in 17th. It is the second year in a row that Killarney has finished runner-up to Kilkenny, which took the crown for a record 5th time. For the first time in 13 years, fewer than half of the towns surveyed were deemed clean.

 

The An Taisce report for Killarney stated: “Always a top-ranking town, things were no different this time around in Killarney. It is a great credit to the local authority, traders and residents that the high standards of cleanliness have been maintained in these trying times. The Bottle Bank in the car park on Plunkett Street was exceptionally clean and freshly presented; Other top-ranking sites included Knockreer Playground and Deenagh Woodland Trail, High Street / Main Street and Dr Hans Liebherr Road.  The Jarvey Parking and surrounds is beautifully laid out – it was also excellent with regard to litter.”

The An Taisce report for Tralee stated: “Tralee just hangs on to its clean status of last summer. Most of the town centre sites within were very much deserving of the top litter grade, including Tralee Town Park, Kerry County Museum, The Square / The Mall and Milk Market Lane – the latter was an excellent example of making a feature of a laneway.  There was one litter blackspot – the ‘miscellaneous’ site along the residential Mitchels Road – it wasn’t just casually littered but subject to heavy levels of dumping – it didn’t get into this state overnight.  The Clothing Bank to the rear of SuperValu had significant amounts of clothing discarded to the rear of the clothing units.“

In all, litter levels rose in 24 of the 37 towns and cities inspected by An Taisce at the end of 2020, resulting in only 17 being judged to be clean – a fall of over 25% on last summer and in sharp contrast to just three years ago, when 80% were clean.

According to IBAL, the survey results are consistent with a trend in recent years. “The decline in cleanliness is less a case of the poorer areas getting worse, but of previously clean towns slipping to littered,” says IBAL spokesperson Conor Horgan. “COVID is clearly a factor here, but we should never accept litter as inevitable. It comes down to people disposing of their waste without regard for their surroundings or their fellow citizens and it is entirely unnecessary.”

One explanation for the rise in litter lies in the restrictions surrounding cleaning services during the pandemic.  “While council workers have not been on the streets as much as normal, the general public has been spending more time than ever out of doors,” says Mr Horgan.

“There was a sharp rise in the amounts of litter on approach roads to towns, reflecting the fact that the benign winter has seen masses of people out walking. Ironically, too many of them are showing a shameful disregard for the environment they are enjoying.”

PPE litter

Coffee cups were among the most prevalent litter types found, while there was another rise in glass bottles and cans, suggesting that outdoor drinking has not waned over the winter months.  The survey also showed that the second half of 2020 brought a further increase in PPE-related litter, primarily masks.  “Eight months into the pandemic, we would have hoped people would have moved to reusable masks with a resulting fall in mask-related litter. In fact, we are seeing more and more of them ending up our streets.”

Heavily littered sites ‘getting worse’

The report highlighted a continued rise in the number of blackspots in towns and cities. IBAL was once again critical of the failure of local authorities to address sites that had been identified in previous surveys as heavily littered. 36 such sites were revisited in this latest survey, yet only 11% were found to have been cleaned up and more than a quarter had actually worsened.

Reluctance to pick up litter

According to IBAL, the reluctance among civic-minded people to pick up litter during the pandemic may carry long term consequences.

“While people have certainly become more attuned to their natural surroundings and more conscious of how litter can spoil those surroundings, this is offset by an understandable unwillingness to pick up waste for fear of contamination. As the pandemic endures, and with it the sensitivity around touching items, people may simply get out of the habit of picking up other people’s litter. We risk losing a civic behaviour which is vital in keeping our country clean.”

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Green light for teen accommodation

By Michelle Crean  Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead. An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment. The teens living within the premises […]

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By Michelle Crean
 

Plans for sheltered accommodation to house homeless teenagers in foster care have been given the go ahead.

An Bord Pleanala has approved a three-storey building in Flemings Lane just off High Street, which will have eight bedrooms, two one bedroom apartments and one two bedroom apartment.

The teens living within the premises will be supervised by applicant Eileen O’Brien who will live on the ground floor of the premises.

The two one-bed apartments on the second floor would either be rented out or used for independent living for the teenagers as they reach adulthood.

The two-bed apartment will be on the third floor. There are also plans for balconies at second and third floor levels.

The proposed apartment building is contemporary in design with a mix of stone and render finish on the lower floors and synthetic burned timber finish on the upper floors. The second floor is recessed at the front and the third floor is recessed at the front and the rear with a decorative feature on the front elevation comprising dark grey timber steel poles. The building will also have a flat roof.

Planning permission was granted subject to 14 conditions including a two-metre high boundary wall to be constructed on south, south-western boundaries of the site and there’s to be no overnight commercial guest accommodation.

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Fans return to Fitzgerald Stadium after eight months

By Sean Moriarty Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game. Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Officials from Fitzgerald Stadium remain hopeful that crowd capacity at the venue can be increased to 500 spectators in time for the Munster final on July 25 – subject to both national health guidelines and Kerry qualifying for the game.

Last Saturday evening’s National League semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone was the first game at the stadium since the 2020 Kerry Petroleum Intermediate Club Football Championship Quarter-Final when Glenbeigh-Glencar played Beaufort on October 4 last year.

Due to current restrictions only 200 fans were allowed attend Saturday’s big match. That will remain in place for Kerry’s opening Munster Championship tie with Clare on June 26.

“It had been more than eight months since Fitzgerald Stadium welcomed back fans to the venue,” stadium PRO Tatyana McGough told the Killarney Advertiser. “Everything went exceptionally well.”

She is hopeful that more restrictions will be eased on July 5, paving the way for an increase in capacity to 500 fans in time for the July 25 Munster Final.

“It is likely that from July 5 up to 500 spectators may be permitted to attend games. We hope this number will increase for the Munster Final. If it is a Cork versus Kerry Munster Final the game will be fixed for Sunday July 25 at 4pm in the Fitzgerald Stadium. The stadium’s staff are very confident in being able to host any number of fans that may be allowed.”

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Garda appeal to park legally at beaches and public amenities

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An Garda Siochana is appealing to the public to park legally in designated car parks and spaces when visiting beaches, beauty spots and other public amenities. 

The good weather has seen an increase in dangerous illegal parking at these locations across the country in recent weeks. An Garda Siochana wants people to enjoy the summer but do so safely.

Parking illegally can lead to unnecessary risk and dangers such as pedestrians being forced to walk along dangerous roads. It can also prevent emergency services from gaining access to these amenities a seaside locations which could lead to the loss of life. 

“We encourage the public to plan their journeys and think safety first when parking your vehicle,” the Gardai said in a statement. 

“The outcome of parking illegally could be far more serious than a FCPN or vehicle towing and puts others and your own life at risk. 

An Garda Siochana reminds and encourages the public to social distance and follow public health guidelines when attending these locations this Summer.

An Garda Siochana is also supporting National Water Safety Awareness Week (June 14th – 20th). Information on this campaign and general water safety can be found on Water Safety Irelands Website – www.watersafety.ie/national-water-safety-awareness-week/

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