Cllr Shane P. O'Reilly (Ind).

Litter clean-ups draining council’s human resources

The dumping of litter throughout the pandemic has more than doubled and local authority crews now spend a full two days every week gathering up all this rubbish, as opposed to half a day previously.

The revelation was made at the June meeting of the Ballyjamesduff Municipal District meeting by executive engineer, John McGahern.

Cavan County Council has now embarked on an extensive road resurfacing programme and Mr McGahern said he does not have the personnel to spend days picking up litter.

“We can’t do both,” he declared with some frustration.

He said that additional bins are not the solution, pointing out that when two bins were installed at the lake in Virginia, people proceeded to fill them and then throw their rubbish beside the bins.

The remarks came after Cllr Shane P. O’Reilly (Ind) sought to highlight litter levels and the condition of facilities at a number of beauty spots in the Ballyjamesduff Municipal District.

“I am quite shocked at the state of disrepair at those sites, which are under the auspices of Cavan County Council. That includes litter, benches and maintenance,” the Mullagh man said.

He pointed out that, at a time when the county is opening up again and encouraging visitors, he got a “bit of a hop at some places”.

Cllr O’Reilly highlighted damage and vandalism to some amenities including a disposable barbecue burning a park bench.

People visiting these beauty spots are damaging property and instanced damage done to a bench, when a disposable barbecue was lit on the park bench.

“It had just burned it nearly clean through. People will have to take responsibility for their actions,” said Cllr O’Reilly.

“Cavan County Council and Community Organisations are raising money to put these benches and other facilities in place and then people come along wily nilly and damages them – it is an awful thing to do,” he continued.


Cllr O’Reilly proposed that an audit be conducted throughout the municipal district from Arva to Mullagh at tourist locations to establish where maintenance and repairs are required.

He further called for additional signage in certain areas, to include ‘no dog litter’ notices.

“Now that the county is opening up and there will be more staycations, we need to put our best foot forward,” said Cllr O’Reilly.

Chairman Trevor Smith and Cllr Winston Bennett (FG) also contributed to the debate, the latter saying it was a “disgrace” for people to leave their rubbish behind them. He suggested having litter wardens patrol amenities at busy times.

“I was in Germany a couple of times and you would not even see a sweet paper thrown on the ground – what is wrong here?” asked Cllr Bennett.

Bins attract illegal dumping

Mr McGahern said, unfortunately, putting in more bins only serves to attract illegal dumping as happened at the Virginia lakeshore. “When people see bins, they fill them and then think it is alright to throw litter all around them,” he remarked.

Mr McGahern contended littering at the Virginia site had increased since the second bin went in.

Cllr T.P. O’Reilly said that birds also pick litter out on the bins and scatter it and he called on people to be responsible for their own actions.

He said that the Tidy Towns volunteers work hard to clean up towns and villages.

Cllr T.P. O’Reilly said he received a photograph the previous Saturday from someone showing a blow-up dingy shoved into a bin.

“That was one large item just pushed in to fill the bin. They could have put it in their car. Why people can’t put their rubbish in a bag and place it in the boot of their car and bring it home, is beyond me. Unfortunately we are not going to prevent it totally,” he said.

Mr McGahern said cleaning up such sites is costing the local authority time and money and the focus is now shifting to the programme of surface dressing. “I do not have the staff to spare from surface dressing – we can’t do both!”