Councillor Paddy McQuillan.
“It’s easy to point the finger at the public, but the Council must take their share of the blame.” So says Independent Councillor Paddy McQuillan in an opinion piece for Drogheda Life in response to Drogheda's poor performance in the IBAL Anti-Litter League.
The recent IBAL report has officially named Drogheda as the dirtiest town in Ireland. This is heart-breaking.
Now the finger pointing, blame game has begun in earnest. Phrases are being bandied about in the local press and social media that appear to lay blame on the people of Drogheda for the result of this report.
Unfortunately every town in Ireland experiences illegal dumping. It is a scourge on our landscape and those responsible for it should be ashamed of themselves and fined to the maximum of the law.
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While Drogheda plummets to the bottom of the table, Dundalk is slowly creeping upwards. As the IBAL report shows Dundalk is just one place off being “Clean to European Norms”.
Is there a reason for this disparity? Are the people of Drogheda to blame, as so many have insisted, or is the lack of services that we get from the council contributing to the problem of litter and dirt in our town?
I believe that the Council must stand up and take their share of the blame here. The statistics prove the point here when comparing the services that Dundalk receives from the council compared to the services that we receive in Drogheda.
Dundalk has 200 litter bins throughout the town and Drogheda has 250. This makes sense as Drogheda is the larger town. Every single bin in Dundalk is attended to on a daily basis. But, in Drogheda, 60 bins are attended to on a daily basis and the remaining 190 are attended to on a weekly basis.
This is why our bins are overflowing with rubbish. It is unacceptable and must change immediately.
Similarly, estates in Dundalk are swept every four weeks. In Drogheda, the public estates are swept every eight weeks and the private estates are swept every twelve weeks. This too is an unacceptable disparity.
I’m not saying that this unequal treatment as regards bin collection is the only reason for Drogheda being labelled the dirtiest town in the country, but it is a contributing factor none the less. Just walk over West Street at five o clock in the evening and the lack of services is blatantly obvious to see.
In order for us to lift ourselves up from the bottom of the table, we all must work together. We as individuals, families, businesses, shop owners, BIDS and voluntary organisations must work together to turn this situation around.
Louth County Council must also play their part ensuring waste collection services at least equal to other major towns in Louth and to a level that will ensure Drogheda doesn’t languish any longer in this sad place as Ireland’s dirtiest town.
As Chief Executive of Louth County Council, Joan Martin must be held accountable for the inequality of waste collection afforded to Drogheda.