There was a testy exchange of views at the July meeting of Louth County Council on Monday morning after Independent councillor Maeve Yore said that those people who leave empty bottles at full recycling banks should not be issued with fine from the local authority.
Cllr Yore raised what she considered to be the necessity to increase the volume of emptying the bottle banks in the county, as with pubs remaining closed, there is more consumption of glass bottles in domestic settings. She asked whether the council had to take on an extra cost for the volume of collections to be increased.
Director of Services Catherine Duff confirmed that it was not merely a matter of cost. “Apart from the extra cost, it’s the resource. It’s a national issue. The contractor is doing the maximum amount they can do.”In response, Cllr Yore said, “We need it sorted. We’re fining people that shouldn’t be fined.”
The council say leaving empty bottles at a full bottle bank is a a litter offence. Last month, a total of 47 fines were issued in Louth in relation to litter offences, five of which were issues in the Dundalk town area. 28 were issued in the Drogheda town area, with 14 elsewhere in the county.
Chief Executive Joan Martin hit back at the councillor’s assertion. “They should be fined. Absolutely, they should be fined,” she said. “The primary responsibility lies with the person who creates the waste – the householder.”
Cllr Yore replied: “Not people who constantly recycle and are doing it properly. It’s the ones who are dumping sludge and diesel, they should be fined. “We have a responsibility to ensure the bins are regularly cleared out. More regularly.
“We should be targeting the diesel dumpers and the habitual dumpers,” she added.
“If you recycle every day for 100 years, that doesn’t make you exempt from being fined,” Martin concluded.
To the end of June, Louth County Council recovered and disposed of75 intermediate bulk containers of diesel sludge dumped in the county, at a cost of €93,648.