A motion by Independent Councillor Declan Clune which has called upon the government to increase fines for those engaging in illegal dumping has been unanimously passed by Waterford City & County Council.
The motion was passed at the April Plenary meeting of Waterford City & County Council. At present, an on-the-spot fine of €150 is issued to first time offenders who engage in instances of illegal dumping. Cllr. Clune’s motion stated that ‘Waterford City & County Council calls on the Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan TD to immediately increase the penalties laid out in the Litter Pollution Act 1997 (as amended in 2017) for persons found to be carrying out illegal dumping to: €1500 for first offence; €3000 for second offence & €5000 for any subsequent offence.”
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr. Clune said the current fines are clearly not enough of a deterrent as illegal dumping continues to be a widespread issue across the county.
“There isn’t a month that goes by where illegal dumping isn’t discussed at our district meetings. It is a scourge across both the city and the county and there are additional costs for the Council when it comes to cleaning up illegal dumping. I believe that the only way to tackle this is is to hit the illegal dumpers right in the pocket. That is the only thing that is going to hurt them.”
Cllr. Clune noted that were there to be a few successful prosecutions and heavy fines resultantly imposed, that that would encourage people to think twice about engaging in acts of illegal dumping.
Mayor of Waterford, Cllr. Damien Geoghegan (Fine Gael) echoed Cllr. Clune’s sentiments in seconding the motion.
Mayor Geoghegan was of the belief that the Council should be prosecuting more people who are caught engaging in illegal dumping.
“We shouldn’t just be issuing fines to people when we catch them, I believe that they should be hauled before the courts. The local newspapers would cover the court cases and then those people would be named and shamed. There is no greater deterrent than for somebody to be worried about their neighbours finding out that they engaged in illegal dumping. That would be the way forward, because right now, you can receive a fixed penalty fine for illegal dumping and nobody would ever know that you were engaging in it.”
Mayor Geoghegan commended Cllr. Clune’s motion and stated that the way forward was ‘naming and shaming’ with increased fines for both first-time and repeat offenders.
The motion was unanimously agreed upon by all members of the Council.