*Clareabbey. 

NECESSARY SUPPORT needs to be introduced via the use of CCTV and drone technology to clamp down on illegal dumping in Clarecastle.

Dumping in Clareabbey “has accelerated almost beyond belief,” Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) stated when proposing measures to tackle the “ongoing and persistent pattern of illegal dumping of refuse and waste” along its approach road.

He sought the use of CCTV and drone technology to be introduced as a matter of urgency with any such approval to include Clareabbey as a priority area. “Since the construction of the Ennis Bypass and associated road network the level of dumping here has accelerated almost beyond belief,” he said.

Senior executive engineer in the environment section of Clare County Council, Brendan Flynn explained, “The Waste Management Act, 1996 as amended by the Circular Economy and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 2022 identifies the role and functions of Local Authorities in protecting the environment and human health by preventing or reducing the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste. Under section 14A of the Act of 1996 Local Authorities may operate CCTV Schemes for the purposes of deterring environmental pollution and facilitating the deterrence, prevention, detection, and prosecution of offences under the Act of 1996”.

Required criteria for appropriate uses of CCTV systems is covered in ‘Operation of CCTV for the Purposes of Prevention, Detection & Prosecution of Waste Offences’ that was prepared by the Local Government Management Association (LGMA). “The statutory code sets out guidance on the necessity, proportionality of use, standard operating procedures, data impact assessment requirements and proposed business case submission before CCTV use can be determined”, Flynn said.

Key points from the code include that the local authority must first establish an oversight board, less intrusive measures to deter, prevent, detect, and prosecute offences under the Act of 1996 must be considered, standard operating procedures must be developed locally by the relevant local authority.

Local Authorities are required to engage in appropriate consultation with the public, as part of the Local Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) process. Local DPIAs must be undertaken in advance of a CCTV proposal being submitted to the Oversight Board and well before any procurement or installation. Each Local Authority operating CCTV shall provide all passers-by with sufficient and adequate notice by way of placing appropriate signage outside the boundary of the line of sight of cameras operating in relation to an Approved CCTV Scheme prior to entering or coming into contact with any Local Authority CCTV operations. Use of CCTV for Waste Management offences is a temporary measure and cannot be not used for general patrol/surveillance.

Clare County Council will “continue to review the use of CCTV for the purposes of Prevention, Detection and Prosecution of Waste Offences,” Flynn advised.

Speaking at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Murphy remarked, “illegal dumping here just keeps going on and on, I am putting in the request that we can use technology, reading the response it is not straight forward, we’re waiting for the LGMA to give their feedback, I’m requesting that we do this as a matter of urgency, this is one of our historic locations in the county, to see this behaviour going on is sickening and disheartening”.

Persons involved with voluntary groups are losing motivation at constantly having to clean up the area and support is needed from relevant authorities, Murphy maintained.

Support was voiced by Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF). “Before the last of my dogs Ben died in 2020 I used to walk there, it is always a challenge, I don’t know how the volunteers of Clarecastle Tidy Towns don’t just give up because it is a continuous black spot”.

“It is so frustrating and soul destroying that there is a huge amount of dumping on a continuous basis,” observed Cllr Mary Howard (FG). “It is intolerable that somebody thinks it is okay that people think it is okay to dump domestic waste there,” she said. Issues with CCTV must be dealt with, she believed. “It is week in week out, every tidy towns group is dealing with this, this is a special heritage area”.

Piloting a scheme for CCTV’s use to tackle illegal dumping in Clareabbey would be welcome, Cllr Tom O’Callaghan (FF). “One thing is very clear, illegal dumping is a scourge on our countryside and we need to stamp it out,” he added. “Illegal dumping is regularly happening on the approach to Clareabbey, it is a beautiful area, the only way anything can happen is for CCTV to catch the culprits,” said Cllr Pat Daly (FF).

Concluding the discussion, Cllr Murphy stated, “It is not just a problem with Clareabbey, it is across the county, we need the support and to get the systems in place”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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