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Not So Tidy: Drogheda hit by major drop in annual IBAL litter rankings

A view of the River Boyne, Drogheda. Photo Credit: IrishFireside/Flicker Creative Commons License.

Drogheda suffered a precipitous drop year-on-year in the annual IBAL Anti-Litter League survey, falling from a highly creditable seventh place last year to 31st in the latest rankings released today. Dundalk, having finished tied for ninth last year, was not surveyed in 2019.

Last year’s IBAL (Irish Business Against Litter) survey deemed both Louth towns to be cleaner than European norms but found Drogheda to be moderately littered this time out. The IBAL report for Drogheda, carried out by An Taisce, was scathing at times in its litter assessment of the town environs.


The derelict West Gate House was described as ‘by far the worst site surveyed’, with the report referring to to it as a ‘litter backspot’ and ‘dumping ground.’

‘With six top ranking sites you would expect Drogheda to score reasonably well,’ the report read. ‘However, the presence of both a seriously littered and litter blackspot very much brings down the town’s overall grade. The poor sites didn’t get into that state overnight but have clearly suffered long term abuse and neglect.’

Drogheda Train Station’s environs were singled out for praise at least as was the memorial to submarine inventor John Philip Holland at Scholars Townhouse.

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Referring to West Gate House in the report, it mentioned the new paint work carried out on the front of the building ahead of the Fleadh in Drogheda but marked it heavily down on the area at the rear which they described as being used as a dumping ground. ‘It was in a shocking state’, the report read. It received a D grade.

West Street faired much better, receiving an A grade with the report citing a ‘virtual absence of litter throughout’ and the ‘attempt to take away the bare look at a boarded up property’, again related to Fleadh clean up activity.

Surveyors noted that St Laurence’s Street had plentiful numbers of litter bins but sweet papers, fast-food wrappers and chewing gum were ‘quite obvious throughout’. However, that didn’t negatively affect the overall ranking of a grade B.

The Palace Street recycle centre was described as a ‘very poor site, with the level of litter and discarded items it was verging on a litter blackspot’. On the day of survey, items were left dangling out of the orange clothing unit, there was loose litter to the front of the recycle units and the area to the rear was a dreadful mess.

‘It certainly didn’t get like this overnight,’ the report wrote. You can read the entire report here.

Drogheda's 2019 IBAL Grades

For a quick glance at what area in Drogheda received what grade in the 2019 IBAL Litter League rankings, take a look at our quick view.

“In 2019 we saw an unwelcome increase in isolated heavily littered sites within many towns, which brought down their scores,” said Conor Horgan of IBAL. “Citizens and tidy towns groups need to push local authorities to focus on these sites and ensure they are clean for when IBAL revisits them in 2020.”

Kilkenny topped the IBAL litter rankings for a record fourth time, having last won the prize in 2014.

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