Hiking dog fouling fines to €1,500 is a radical solution to a radical problem, according to Green Party TD Patrick Costello.
The Dublin South Central TD is calling for a ten-fold increase in dog fouling fines – increasing the penalty from €150 to €1,500.
He was speaking after it emerged that Dublin City Council has handed out just one dog fouling fine since 2019.
Figures released to Green Party Councillor Hazel Chu show that the only fine handed out in nearly three-and-a-half years was issued in the Dublin Central area.
Previous figures showed that just four fines were handed out in 2018.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Green Party justice spokesperson Patrick Costello said increasing the fine to €1,500 is a radical solution to a radical problem.
“The streets are covered in dog waste and nobody’s bothering to pick it up,” he said. “Our current enforcement system isn’t working.
“Really, we have a huge problem with people not picking up after their dogs. This is a public health problem and this is an equality problem.
“People in wheelchairs have been on to me talking about the need to disinfect their hands having rolled through dog waste. So, it is a huge problem and we need to do more.”
He said the heavy fine should remain in place until local authorities can increase the number of fines they issue.
“If people know there’s a very low chance of getting picked up, there is a very low risk to them of not picking up after their dog,” he said.
“So, you’ve got to increase the fine and you’ve got to make it a very heavy fine. That way, they will think differently. Even if there’s a low chance of getting caught, the huge fine will act as a deterrent.
“My hope would be that we can find other ways we can increase enforcement and make it more likely you are going to be caught and, in that case, then you can start bringing the fine back down.”
Deputy Costello said local authorities should follow the lead of Leitrim County Council and look to introduce DNA testing to catch people who fail to clean up after their dog.
He said enforcement officer would need to show a “certain amount of discretion and flexibility” about handing out the fines if the increase came into force.
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