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'It's a disgrace': Public parks left 'absolutely destroyed' by litter over the weekend

Phoenix Park in Dublin was left "absolutely destroyed" by litter after people gathered to enjoy t...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

13.53 26 Apr 2021


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'It's a disgrace': Public park...

'It's a disgrace': Public parks left 'absolutely destroyed' by litter over the weekend

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

13.53 26 Apr 2021


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Phoenix Park in Dublin was left "absolutely destroyed" by litter after people gathered to enjoy the sunny weather over the weekend.

That's according to Virgin Media weatherman Deric Ó hArtagáin, whose video showing rubbish in the park received a massive response online.

Dublin was not the only place where people failed to collect their trash, with reports from across the country describing a similar situation.

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The nation's parks and beaches are set to be busier than ever this summer as people embrace the outdoor lifestyle amid ongoing public health measures.

However, there is concern that littering could be a huge problem if groups fail to bring items from picnics and drinking sessions home with them.

Speaking to Lunchtime Live, Mr Ó hArtagáin said the amount of rubbish that accumulated in the Phoenix Park at the weekend was "an absolute disgrace".

"We had such beautiful weather right across the weekend and I think it's been great that people are out and about enjoying it but off the back of that, we have a very frustrated country waking up this morning because many areas were completely destroyed between Saturday and Sunday and this morning," he said.

"I live quite near the Phoenix Park and went out for a spin on Sunday and I was passing by and I saw the guys from the OPW and all the rubbish and the Phoneix Park yesterday was absolutely destroyed."

He got off his bike to give the men picking up the litter some help, and he has often helped collect rubbish over the years in parks and beaches.

"I think yesterday it just got to me because so many people we passing and saying it was an absolute disgrace," Mr Ó hArtagáin said.

His post on social media got a huge reaction from people and "opened a can of worms in terms of the nationwide frustration".

"I think the attitude we have in this country to litter is kind of a love-hate relationship with rubbish," he added.

"We love to see places nice and clean, nice and tidy, but we hate to pick it up and it's not something that's instilled in us from a very young age.

"If you go to any of the Scandinavian countries or into mainland Europe, most of the major cities and towns are absolutely spotless.

"People can point the finger and say it's the county council's job or it's the city council's job or it's the OPW's job, but it's not, at the end of the day, we have to point the finger back on ourselves."

It's a matter of civic and social responsibility and how we dispose of our own rubbish and how we look after the environment, Mr Ó hArtagáin added.

He said there aren't many bins in the park and the ones that are there were overflowing yesterday, but additional bags had been planed in 'hotspot' areas around the park too which "were only half full".

"It's not even this weekend, this is an ongoing issue, in terms of 'leave no trace', I don't think we understand it," he stated.

"I think without the tidy towns reams in this country we would be absolutely screwed because they do such a great job."

He believes litter wardens or on the spot fines could be a solution to litterers, or a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans which operate in other countries.

'Costa Del Connemara'

Brian from Galway also contacted the show and said 'Costa Del Connemara' and surrounding areas were very busy over the sunny weekend.

However, he said people were respectful and picked up and disposed of their rubbish.

He has been doing walking tours in Galway for ten years and receives a lot of comments about litter generally, with Americans, in particular, commenting that the city is one of the cleanest they've visited.

"Yesterday saw huge crowds in Salthill...the lid was going to come off the kettle at some stage, and it did," he said.

"However what wasn't shown [in the videos on social media] was the lifeguards went down along the beach after that and they were five abreast and everyone picked up their litter and brought it to the bin area and left the location.

"The city council have put up loads of bins in Salthill and Galway, they gave extra collections and they've put out loads of dog poop picker-uppers which I think is a great idea."

'It's a disgrace': Public parks left 'absolutely destroyed' by litter over the weekend

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Main image: Rubbish in Albert College Park. Photograph: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

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