Litter louts ‘cannot be named and shamed’

The thousands of litter louts that have littered beaches during the recent heatwave are to escape any ‘name and shame’ sanction.

Clare County manager Tom Coughlan told a Clare Joint Policing Committee meeting yesterday that the Department of the Environment has a direction that the naming and shaming of litter offenders not take place.

During the recent hot spell, Clare’s most popular beach, Lahinch, was badly affected by beachgoers leaving their rubbish behind.

At the meeting in Ennis, Senator Martin Conway called for what he described as the “litter vandals” to be named and shamed.

“Litter fines should be increased, but if somebody is caught more than once littering, there should be a name and shame policy.

“It seems to be the only way to deal with this, because there are certain elements of our culture engaging in this litter vandalism. It was an incredible downside to our good weather this summer.”

Clare Mayor Joe Arkins said that it was “grossly irresponsible” for people to leave their litter on the ground beside litter bins.

Cllr Paschal Fitzgerald also backed the call, stating “Those littering should be named and shamed and they might not do it again. You could have children cutting themselves with the rubbish that is left behind on the beach.”

However, Mr Coughlan said that naming and shaming of litter offenders is not an option for the council.

He said the council had been in contact with the department over the issue, but that the department has told all local authorities not to name and shame.

Its circular states that the Data Protection Commissioner has indicated that publishing the names and addresses of private individuals fined or convicted as a result of littering, whether by way of publication on local authority websites or by way of notices published in the local press, is in breach of the principles of data protection.

Cllr Conway said: “If the naming and shaming of litter vandals requires a change in legislation so be it. The Revenue can publish quarterly reports on the names and addresses of tax defaulters and I can’t see why this can’t be done for those engaged in littering.”


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