Litter dumped at Stackallen recently and (above left) Cllr Paul McCabe.

Litter louts let off the hook

Up to 223 litter louts in Meath have got off the hook over the past three years.

Since 2017 there have been 223 offenders issued with a fine but who have not paid up and have not been brought to Court.

The litter offence data revealed to Cllr Paul McCabe at Monday's meeting of Meath Co Council has been described as "very concerning".

“It has been revealed that since 2017 there is a sizable cohort of offenders who have been served with a fine by Meath Co Council, have not paid the fine and the Council have failed to bring the case any further.

“This is deeply concerning. I have spent a lot of my time assisting citizens and community groups with the scourge of fly tipping and illegal dumping, sometimes on an industrial scale.

“For example in 2017 Meath Co Council issued 158 fines to offenders. Out of all of those fines only 57 actually paid the fine, and regrettably only 15 court cases were filed by the Council against offenders. What happened to the 101 litter louts that refused to pay their fine and were not taken to court? They got off scot free.

“Leaving these fines uncollected sends the entirely wrong message to offenders and the wider community. There's little sense in going to the trouble to send out a fine if it's not going to followed up.”

Cllr McCabe said Meath Co Council needs to take a stronger approach to littering and dumping offenders, many of whom are repeat and serial offenders.

“Already in 2020 Meath County Council has spent over €2million in litter and dumping enforcement and management. The taxpayers of county Meath need to be assured that if an offender is discovered they should not be let off the hook.

“In order to eradicate and deter offenders from fly tipping and illegal dumping there must be accountability. That has to start with stricter enforcement.

“I totally appreciate that the Environment Department of the Council are under considerable pressure dealing with cases of illegal dumping on a daily basis - but I strongly believe tougher and stronger enforcement is urgently required,” concluded Cllr. McCabe.