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rubbish row Senator calls for crackdown on illegal dumping as figures reveal it costs councils €100m a year

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Senator Malcolm Byrne

Senator Malcolm Byrne

Senator Malcolm Byrne

More than €100m a year is being spent on illegal dumping by local authorities, according to new figures.

Research by Fianna Fáil senator Malcolm Byrne shows city and county councils are spending millions fighting against fly-tippers who leaving rubbish on roadsides.

Mr Byrne has drafted new legislation to give local authorities the power to use CCTV to prosecute people illegally dumping their waste.

The Wexford senator said he believes illegal dumping has increased during the pandemic and should be addressed urgently.

He has surveyed the country’s local authorities to establish how much they are spending annually on illegal dumping and said the figures show around €100m a year is being spent on addressing the issue.

“I am as frustrated and angry as everybody else by the tiny minority who engage in illegal dumping,” he said.

“It is just awful to see bags of rubbish dumped indiscriminately. Our beauty spots are being destroyed and the waste poses a hazard to animals.

“I just cannot get how some people have such a lack of civic responsibility.

"I know this annoyance is shared by councillors across the country,” he added.

The Fianna Fáil parliamentary party supported Mr Byrne’s bill at a meeting on Wednesday and he hopes the legislation can be introduced as an amendment to the Garda Síochána Act.

“GDPR is often cited as the reason as to why councils cannot use CCTV but I figured that would be a perverse interpretation of GDPR,” he said.

“I raised it with the Data Protection Commission and my engagement with them on the issue is that we don’t have the legislation in place underpinning the use of CCTV to catch those who dump,” he added.

“We need to start catching those responsible and fining them and in my view, jailing them. It is unacceptable behaviour.

“One of the best weapons that we can give to local authorities is the ability to catch those responsible on camera.”

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