Members of Ballyconnell Fire Station take part in a clean up on the Yellow Road (Ballyconnell to Betlurbet) on Saturday afternoon. Back (from left): Stephen Crowe, firefighter; DM Liam McKiernan and Padraig Neary, leading firefighter; front, Conal Johnston, Firefighter; Damien Brady, station officer and Daryll McNulty, firefighter. Photos: Lorraine Teevan

Brigade blitz on roadside litter

The ongoing war on fly tipping of all sorts of waste and household items across the county was taken to a new level last Saturday when the full nine members of the Ballyconnell Fire Brigade did an extensive litter pick along a segment of the Yellow Road.

They were joined by active local residents who did an extensive clean-up along their stretch of the same road.

The initiative was organised by station officer, Damien Brady, who told the Celt that a total of 80 bags of litter were collected, together with bicycles, tyres and even computers, all of which were blighting the beautiful natural woodland location in close proximity to two significant fishing lakes. Bags of nappies and bags of ashes from household fires were also recovered from the ditches.

The Fire Brigade crew used their fire appliance and a jeep and trailer to help recover the rubbish. Most of the waste was recovered from a water course, which connects to the Annagh and Cullighan lakes.

Damien said that they had a phenomenal positive response to their Spring Clean week initiative and messages rolled in on social media. “Why should other people have to go along and pick up the litter that another has dumped?” he asked.

Damien estimated that more than 70% of the rubbish recovered could have been recycled including plastic and glass bottles and cans, which could been disposed in the recycling facility on the Killeshandra road.

The former Sinn Féin county councillor said more will have to be done to identify culprits.

“There will have to be a focus on ascertaining who all have wheelie bins and how people are getting rid of their rubbish,” he suggested.

“The Yellow Road in a route I travel every day on my way to work and I have been horrified over the last number of months and even years in relation to the number of black bags of rubbish that have been dumped along that road,” said Damien.

He thanked the chief fire officer, Noel O'Reilly, for permitting thhe firefighters to engage in the clean-up. “When we actually got out on the ground, we were horrified and shocked at what we witnessed - the amount of rubbish that was dumped behind the hedge and in the field and in drains,” he said.

Damien accused those responsible of having “no consideration whatsoever for the welfare and upkeep of the countryside”.

He added: “As the station officer of the brigade, I would like to thank residents and the fire brigade crew for giving of their time to pick up after others from 11am to 4pm.”

Damien also extended his thanks to staff in the Council’s Waste Management section for providing signs, gloves, skip and pickers.