The county council faced a €4,000 bill for cleaning up the mess afterwards.

The council will not provide more bins at the lakes

Westmeath County Council will not provide additional bins at lakeside amenities even though it spent €4,000 on cleaning up after just one weekend of summer sun a few weeks ago.

It would like to see the public become more responsible for rubbish, it emerged at last week’s Mullingar Town Council meeting.

An aghast Cllr Aidan Davitt said he didn’t agree with the council’s policy after he requested that busy lake areas on summer weekends have temporary bins to deal with the quantities of litter, as witnessed over a scorching hot June weekend.

“I wouldn’t be happy with this ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ attitude,” he remarked. “I was out at the diving boards that day and there was rubbish everywhere – everyone saw it in the papers,” Cllr Davitt continued.

The Fianna Fáil man suggested forming a committee that would police such areas during hot summer days and said he had brokered a great deal last year with Mulleady’s [Mulleady Waste Management] on behalf of the Pettitswood and Lakepoint estates.

“It’s something we should look at,” he urged. “Sure, you’re just going to be throwing out staff there on the Monday or Tuesday mornings anyway to clean up after a busy weekend. I think we should be pro-active.”

Director of services Declan Leonard said the council were trying to get the message out that: “It’s your litter – you are responsible for it.”

“We spent €4,000 on that weekend emptying bins. There were soiled nappies, old barbecues, slaps of beer, cans thrown around... bring it home,” he said.

“It’s an eyesore, I was absolutely shocked,” agreed Cllr Davitt.

The new cathaoirleach, Cllr Pat Collins, said he had been talking to the public, and after all the emphasis that had been placed on the environment, going green and the Tidy Towns, they had never seen anything like it before in their lifetime.

“The damage that can be done in just one weekend,” said Cllr Collins. “The money that’s being spent on this when we don’t have it and when it could be used somewhere better but now it can’t because it’s gone.”

A call also came from Cllr Gerry Sheridan to provide skips at Ballyglass Cemetery again; he said the public were disappointed at their removal.

“It’s particularly busy this time of year, is it possible that towards Cemetery Sunday that skips could be replaced?” he asked.

The written response was: due to the high cost of skip hire, collection and disposal, the council would no longer be providing a skip there and that bins instead would be provided for plastic wreaths and other material.

Declan Leonard elaborated: “There is other dumping taking place there, household waste – in one case a television and a fridge were dumped. We had to bring the skips to Dublin to dispose of them,” he said, adding that for Cemetery Sunday they would look at replacing the skip because so many families carry clean graves at that time.