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




1Ennis, Kildare, Roscommon*Cleaner than European Norms
4Dublin Airport EnvironsCleaner than European Norms
5TallaghtCleaner than European Norms
T6LongfordCleaner than European Norms
T6KilkennyCleaner than European Norms
8ClonmelCleaner than European Norms
9LeixlipCleaner than European Norms
10BalbrigganCleaner than European Norms
11PortlaoiseClean to European Norms
12TullamoreClean to European Norms
13AthloneClean to European Norms
T13Waterford CityClean to European Norms
15LetterkennyClean to European Norms
T16CastlebarClean to European Norms
T16KillarneyClean to European Norms
18CavanClean to European Norms
19ThomondgateClean to European Norms
20SligoClean to European Norms
21Cork CityClean to European Norms
T22MallowClean to European Norms
T22MonaghanClean to European Norms
24DroghedaClean to European Norms
25WexfordClean to European Norms
26Limerick CityClean to European Norms
27Waterford City (Ballybeg)Clean to European Norms
28BrayClean to European Norms
29DundalkClean to European Norms
30Galway CityModerately littered
31TraleeModerately littered
32CarlowModerately littered
33Dublin City CentreModerately littered
34NavanModerately littered
35Mahon (Cork City)Moderately littered
36Cork North CityLittered
37Dublin North Inner City Littered
38Galway City (Ballybane)Littered
40Limerick City SE (Galvone)Seriously littered
Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at


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