Residents living near a notorious illegal dump on the northside of Cork city have slammed the authorities for delays in tackling the problem.
More than a dozen people who live overlooking the council-owned Ellis's Yard site in Ballyvolane brought their protest to the steps of City Hall tonight to demand the rubbish is cleared, the site is bulldozed, and the area is developed to prevent more dumping.
The dump site is next to the Spring Lane Traveller halting site.
Traveller representative groups accept that while some of the dumped material originates in the halting site, the vast majority is shipped onto the site from outside.
The council spent more than €570,000 on three massive clean-ups of the site between 2003 and 2014.
Last year, it emerged that firefighters were called to the site 136 times in the previous 24 months to tackle rubbish fires.
Protest organiser, Noreen Murphy, said the time for talk is over and residents want to see action amid fears asbestos has been dumped on site.
"Enough is enough. The people of Ballyvolane are being exposed to danger because of the inaction of the city council," she said. "We want to see action. We want it cleared out and we want it secured."
Shay Hegney, who has lived overlooking Ellis's Yard for 14-years, said the dumping problem has worsened in the last three or four, with an increase in smells from the site, and an increase in fires.
"The whole site needs to be closed down and closed off, even build houses on it, the whole thing needs to be bulldozed, including the halting site," he said.
In a statement, the council said it understands the frustrations of residents and that it plans to clean the area in the coming weeks.
"Works will also include the repair of the surrounding palisade fencing and the installation of CCTV to deter future dumping on the site," a spokesperson said. "Cork City Council will also work closely with other state agencies in terms of progressing multi-agency site inspections."
Council chief executive, Ann Doherty, described the site as challenging.
"It is very challenging for the residents, and I fully acknowledge that, but it is equally challenging for us to manage that site," she said.
She said officials have been working on a plan and have secured funding to clean the site but she said it is essential that the overall project includes the securing of the site to ensure that dumping is prevented in the long-term.
Workers’ Party Cllr Ted Tynan said that the dump represents a serious health hazard to everyone in the area.
“Cork City Council often prides itself on its environmental record but as long as dumps like this, official or otherwise, are allowed to exist, especially in close proximity with people’s homes, schools and playing grounds, the local authority is failing in its duty of care," he said.
He called for the construction of public housing on the site.
It is understood that as well as the clean-up, the council is working on a long-term plan that could see the site being used for sporting or recreational purposes.
It is understood that talks to secure the long-term future for the site are at an advanced stage.