Monday, 31 May 2021
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I echo some of Senator Higgins's sentiments. The weekend events around the country highlighted for me that this issue boils down to how we respect our public places, private property and fellow citizens. We saw disgusting littering, which has been raised. Councillor Dónal Gilroy in Sligo called me this morning at his wit's end about Streedagh Beach in County Sligo. This was replicated around the country. Our beaches and public amenities are not fit to accommodate the number of people who are flocking to them.
We need to help local authorities to deal with the outdoor summer. We need to embrace summer tourism. I look forward to travelling around the country and hopefully getting to some hot spots, cool spots or wet spots. We need more litter, traffic and dog wardens. We need more public toilets and lifeguards. We need to protect our special areas of conservation so that people do not light campfires. This was a problem throughout the country last weekend. Dogs need to be kept on leads in commonage areas so that they do not attack wild birds and sheep.It is sad to think that we need a campaign to tell people to pick up after themselves. We really do need such an awareness campaign, however, to start immediately to address how people should behave outdoors and to help local authorities to deal with these types of situations. It is not right that members of TidyTowns committees have to come along and act as binmen and binwomen and do that heavy lifting every weekend. Those people need support. TidyTowns committees should be for planting flowers and lifting rubbish occasionally, and not for this type of regular heavy lifting. Those organisations are intended to complement that work and not to do it.