Calls to penalise camper van owners for dumping offences

ACTION must be taken against camper van owners who dump the contents of chemical toilets and rubbish in hedgerows, campsite owners in West Cork have said.

The campsite owners are complaining that “nobody is taking any action” against offending motor home owners.

The Department of the Environment said it is a matter for each individual local authority.

David Dowling from Dowling’s Caravan Park in Glengarriff, Co Cork, attacked Cork County Council for failing to address the issue.

“We are paying rates, insurance and income tax and yet many of these people provide virtually nothing to the tourist industry, only failing to properly dispose of their rubbish,” said Mr Dowling.

The Irish Caravan and Camping Council has repeatedly raised the issue with the Department of the Environment. However, Mr Dowling says he has had no success with Cork County Council.

“You might as well as be talking to a donkey as expecting the county council to do anything about this. On the continent, you’d be locked up for dumping like this,” he said.

The hire of camper vans is not inexpensive in this country with Irish hire companies charging up to €1,200 per week for the self-contained vans. One campsite owner told the Irish Examiner that two San Francisco-based women had their motorhome shipped from the US for their extended European trip rather than pay the prices demanded here.

An Irish website – Safenights Ireland – has been set up, offering up to 50 locations around Ireland where camper van owners can safely park. They have written to thousands of commercial premises, retailers, hotel owners and retail park owners asking if they would be willing to open their car parks to mobile home owners for €10 per night.

The Irish Caravan and Camping Council has also expressed concern to the Department of the Environment about this development.

Helen and Stephen Keohane own the Hideaway Campsite at Skibbereen. They say that in June alone, they saw 10 camper vans parked beside the local playground yet they only charge €20-€26 for an overnight stay with access to electricity, showers and running water.

In Timoleague, Elaine Sexton of Sextons’ Caravan and Camping says while some camper van owners dump their waste, others choose to spend most of their time “wild” camping and then stop for one night at her site to “dump”. She has started to refuse entry to suspects.

Ms Sexton says it irks her that while she pays rates, insurance of up to €3,500, council taxes and income tax, no action is taking against dumping camper van owners.


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