Irish Business Against Litter showed Tallaght climbing spectacularly to 5th in the ranking of 40 towns and cities

Litter Tallaght IBAL 2017


Clean towns contrast with littered city areas in latest IBAL survey

  • Dublin City Centre declines to “moderately littered” but North Inner City improves
  • Best ever result for Tallaght

The latest survey by business group Irish Business Against Litter showed Tallaght climbing spectacularly to 5th in the ranking of 40 towns and cities, but Dublin City Centre falling back to moderately littered. While Balbriggan secured a top ten position and Dublin’s North Inner City recorded it best ever result, Ballymun slid to 2nd from bottom in the rankings.  Ennis, Roscommon and last year’s winner Kildare are vying for the title of Ireland’s cleanest town, to be announced by Minister Denis Naughten at midday today in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin*.

An Taisce surveyed 25 towns and 15 city areas on behalf of IBAL. Of these, none was judged to be a litter blackspot, and only one, Galvone in Limerick, was designated as “seriously littered”. 88% of towns were deemed clean, a slight improvement on the previous year, with 40% adjudged to be cleaner than the European average. In contrast, city areas occupied 6 of the bottom 7 places in the rankings. Waterford was again the country’s cleanest city, while Tallaght, previously a litter blackspot, climbed to 5th in the rankings and was deemed “Cleaner than European Norms”.

While still littered, Dublin’s North Inner City recorded its best ever performance since it was first surveyed in 2011. An Taisce noted an absence of littered blackspots or seriously littered sites in the North Inner City. “A starting point on the road to cleanliness is to concentrate on very bad sites and there are signs the Council are doing this,” said IBAL’s Conor Horgan. In “seriously littered” Galvone in Limerick, by contrast, there was little improvement in several sites previously found to be seriously littered. According to the An Taisce report “this suggests the City Council are not getting to grips with the litter problem in the area.”

Continuing a trend of recent years, litter levels increased in Dublin City Centre towards the end of the year. “The Council have been successful in keeping our capital clean for the peak summer season, but less so when it is over. Cleanliness is not just for tourists – it should be year-long,” maintains Horgan. While the main shopping street areas of Henry Street, O’Connell Street and Grafton Street presented particularly well, there were litter blackspots on Mountjoy Street, Hanover Lane and Capel Street.

Once again, the roads leading in from Dublin Airport were exceptionally clean, but in general the survey found an increase in litter levels along roads connecting towns, with the majority “moderately littered”.     According to IBAL, progress in cities has been much slower than in towns, and much less consistent. “In this latest survey, for example, we have seen reversals in recent improvements in Dublin City Centre and Ballymun, as well as in Galway City’s Ballybane and Mahon in Cork, in a way that we have not witnessed in towns,“ explains Horgan. “This points to a lack of community involvement which is essential to keeping an area free of litter over time.”

The group contends that it is no coincidence that the worst performing areas in the rankings are among the least affluent in the country, as defined by the Pobal Deprivation Index. “Products of poor planning, disadvantaged communities are prone to litter on two fronts. In the first instance, they tend to be neglected by the local authority, which concentrate their cleaning efforts on city centre locations. This is compounded by an absence of pride in the locality in these areas, where communities are often transient and amenities lacking,” said Conor Horgan. IBAL intends to continue to work to make these areas clean over the long-term.

According to the survey, 2017 saw falls in the prevalence of fast food wrappers, plastic bottles and dog fouling. Chewing gum, cigarette butts and cans continue to be major sources of litter.


Pictured: l to r Minister Denis Naughten, Nicola Lawlor of SDCC and Conor Horgan of IBAL




Position Town/City Classification
1 Ennis, Kildare, Roscommon* Cleaner than European Norms
4 Dublin Airport Environs Cleaner than European Norms
5 Tallaght Cleaner than European Norms
T6 Longford Cleaner than European Norms
T6 Kilkenny Cleaner than European Norms
8 Clonmel Cleaner than European Norms
9 Leixlip Cleaner than European Norms
10 Balbriggan Cleaner than European Norms
11 Portlaoise Clean to European Norms
12 Tullamore Clean to European Norms
13 Athlone Clean to European Norms
T13 Waterford City Clean to European Norms
15 Letterkenny Clean to European Norms
T16 Castlebar Clean to European Norms
T16 Killarney Clean to European Norms
18 Cavan Clean to European Norms
19 Thomondgate Clean to European Norms
20 Sligo Clean to European Norms
21 Cork City Clean to European Norms
T22 Mallow Clean to European Norms
T22 Monaghan Clean to European Norms
24 Drogheda Clean to European Norms
25 Wexford Clean to European Norms
26 Limerick City Clean to European Norms
27 Waterford City (Ballybeg) Clean to European Norms
28 Bray Clean to European Norms
29 Dundalk Clean to European Norms
30 Galway City Moderately littered
31 Tralee Moderately littered
32 Carlow Moderately littered
33 Dublin City Centre Moderately littered
34 Navan Moderately littered
35 Mahon (Cork City) Moderately littered
36 Cork North City Littered
37 Dublin North Inner City Littered
38 Galway City (Ballybane) Littered
39 Ballymun Littered
40 Limerick City SE (Galvone) Seriously littered



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