Galway County Council planned to invest an additional €30,000 in cameras above what was set aside in the budget in order to thwart an “epidemic” of illegal dumping.
Cllr Joe Byrne said the volume of rubbish being dumped around Loughrea was “quite frightening”, describing it as an epidemic.
He had attended a meeting recently about illegal dumping in the Gort area and a lot of money was being spent on cleaning it up, only for it to be repeated.
“We have to make a decision about cameras for rubbish blackspots. The use of mobile CCTV cameras to catch offenders is something we’d really welcome. Towns and villages and county roads are decimated by rubbish being dumped. It’s quite incredible the type of stuff being dumped.”
He urged the Council to consider setting up a civic amenity site in Gort to help with the disposal of white goods and non-residential waste.
He said the State should consider bringing in legislation to deduct people’s social welfare payments if caught littering.
Cllr Jimmy McClearn said it was very frustrating for Council staff who go to great lengths to identify the culprits only to see them treated very leniently in court.
“I’ve seen people caught several times and they simply refuse to pay the fine,” he fumed.
“The laws under which the local authority are operating need to be strengthened considerably. Also the judiciary needs to get real about the situation.”
He recalled that 45 tonnes of rubbish was collected in Woodford alone, which would no better or worse than other small parishes.
Cllr Shane Donnellan said offenders were going to the trouble of removing items which could identify them before dumping and were also throwing things in remote locations never regarded as a blackspot.
“All we can do is collect it and get it out of the area. If there’s no evidence we’re fighting a losing battle. If CCTV cameras are there, these guys will probably get smart again and wear hoodies and cover their number plates.”
Director of Services for water and environment, Jim Cullen, said it was probably easier to keep towns and villages clean than in the wider countryside and the impact of the Tidy Towns initiative should not be underestimated.
Illegal dumping was sometimes the result of people paying to have rubbish collected which was then thrown out by the operator irresponsibly.
He said some illegal dumping occurred near civic amenity sites, which showed people dumped because they simply did not want to pay.
“They are dumping goods that can be returned to shops. It’s a difficult fight. People have got very, very clever and take out things that can identify them so we have to spend more time to catch them out.”
He said the roll-out of the CCTV had been successful and the plan was to roll out more in blackspots.
“We are spending €25,000 to €30,000 on CCTV cameras in the next six months above what was planned for. It will take time for those to yield benefits and then they have to be moved on.”
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at email@example.com
Gardaí seek help in locating missing man
Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.
He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.
Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.
Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.
‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.
Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.
There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.
Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.
Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.
“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.
“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.
Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.
“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”
(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.