IFA Call for Stronger Deterrents Against Illegal Dumpers Following Assault on Farmer

IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey has said that local authorities must introduce stronger deterrents against people who dump litter in the countryside. “IFA highlighted recently the threat of fines of €130,000 on landowners for rubbish left by others. In light of the increasing problem, it is time to review the penalties imposed on the perpetrators of illegal dumping and put stronger deterrents in place.”

He also urged farmers to report any incidents of illegal dumping in the countryside to their local authority, which is responsible for keeping the countryside litter free.

He made his remarks following an incident in which a farmer who challenged illegal dumpers was seriously assaulted. Eddie Downey said he could understand the frustrations of farmers who find people spreading household rubbish on their land, but cautioned against engaging with them. “The type of person who engages in this despicable behaviour has no regard for persons or property. In this incident, the farmer has endured persistent and indiscriminate dumping on his land. When he attempted to warn off the dumpers, he was assaulted and suffered head injuries.”

He said, “IFA has run a number of campaigns highlighting the problems of litter in the countryside. While we will continue to play our part, farmers cannot be held liable and it is the responsibility of local authorities to keep the countryside free of litter.”

Eddie Downey repeated his call on the Environment Minister Phil Hogan to review the legislation and direct local authorities to concentrate their efforts on cleaning up the countryside.

Attached is IFA’s plan of action to tackle rural and roadside litter.

1.       National Rural Spring Clean Week: During this week, all County Council environmental enforcement officers should be available to collect and clear rubbish along roadside verges, once notified.

2.       Civic Amenity sites on the outskirts of Towns and Villages: County Councils must establish a network of strategically located skips on the outskirts of all towns and villages, where people can safely dispose of rubbish rather than litter the countryside.

3.       Communication and Education Campaign: County Council environmental enforcement officers must liaise directly with the public to highlight the problem of rural littering and encourage people to take their litter home and dispose of it correctly; supported by a major national television, radio and print media campaign to highlight the issue.

4.       Enforcement of anti-littering Laws: Each County Council must enforce the anti-littering laws effectively and encourage the general public to report offenders.

5.       Dedicated Litter Reporting Line & Website: A national free-phone litter reporting line and website should be developed to allow people to report incidents of littering.

6.       National Litter Action Taskforce: The Government must immediately establish a task force made up of representatives from key interest groups, including IFA, to tackle this issue at national level and ensure delivery by County Councils.

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