Personnel convicted of illegal dumping and littering should be assigned to community service work, a request put forward to the Minister for Justice and Equality has outlined.
Originally Cllr Cathal Crowe (FF) had requested the Courts Service to “consider assigning those convicted for dumping / littering to community service work” but later amended his motion to ask the Minister for Justice and Equality to make the decision.
Director of Service, Carmel Kirby in a written reply to his November motion to the local authority outlined, “The assigning of community service or any other penalty is soley a matter for the presiding Judge who hears the particular case. It would be improper for the local authority to seek through the Court Service the imposition of a particular sanction in dumping / littering prosecutions”.
“Sheer frustration” prompted the Meelick native to put down the motion, he said the Physical Development Directorate of the Council are doing well with the “limited resources” they have. Of the illegally dumped items, Cllr Crowe said there was “everything from suites of furniture to bags of rubbish”. “The only way we’ll find out who the people are convicted of littering is if the media happen to report on it”. Woodcock Hill Enhancement Committee have night cameras that are monitoring illegal dumping, he told the meeting.
Cllr Ann Norton (IND) said “it is an initiative that should be looked at. We talk about naming and shaming but unfortunately we can’t do that”. The seconder of the motion added, “Nobody wants to have to go to court, if a judge was to get them involved and have them out on the streets with a bright yellow jacket so everyone knows why they are there, it would be the first and last time they would do it”.
Shannon representative, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) admitted he didn’t see “a whole pile wrong” with Cllr Crowe’s original wording, “What you have asked for is not beyond the realms of possibility”. He joked, “You’re nearly as bad as Mooney Goes Wild with the cameras”. Flynn continued, “It needs to be put out there that people are being caught on camera, maybe Carmel has cameras everywhere”.
“It may be pushing the boundaries but why not,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) commented as she acknowledged “the majority” of councillors have brought up the issue of illegal dumping before the County Council. Cllr Joe Killeen (FF) revealed, “I like the idea of the camera. Unless people are approached, they will continue to do it. We need to have the deterrent and the idea of community service would be an education for them”.
Like Cllr Flynn, Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) would have preferred if the proposer stuck with the original wording of the motion. “Maybe we should also get the judge to ask if they have bins”. “We’ve been talking about this for the last six years, the only way to stop them is by hitting them with a €1000 fine on the spot,” Cllr Pat Daly (FF) suggested.
Chief Executive of the County Council, Pat Dowling issued a health warning regarding local groups using cameras. “As the civic authority, we’re not proposing people go out with cameras and put them around the place. We use cameras in the context of legal provisions that we’re allowed to use them. There are significant data protection issues around this”.