Under the 1997 Litter Act, Irish litter wardens have no enforcement powers, meaning if an offender refuses to give their name and address, there is nothing the warden can do.
“There is very little provision for enforcement of on-the-spot fines in this country. But one way of getting around this and cleaning up our country would be if the wardens were to target businesses who don’t keep the footpaths around them, entrances, car-parks etc clean. There will be no issue there of not being able to get a name and address,” said IBAL chairman Tom Cavanagh.
“There is one sector that is doing very well in Ireland and that’s the food sector and that’s because we’re perceived as clean and green. If investors come here and see our littering, that perception will soon change,”
In Cork there are just four full-time staff covering the city. There are five full-time and 14 part-time wardens in the county.
In Dublin City, there are 23 full-time litter wardens, according to the Local Authority National Service Indicators.
In Limerick City, there are two full-time and one part-time litter warden, while in Kerry there are three full-time and 12 part- time wardens.
Figures from Dublin City Council show 853 prosecutions were initiated for non-payment of on-the- spot fines last year, with 99 cases reaching court. According to the city council, a number of these prosecutions were settled before they reached court.
At Limerick City Council, 882 on-the-spot fines were issued. Up to 122 had legal proceedings started against them, with 53 prosecutions secured.
In Waterford City, 246 litter fines were issued last year; 12 prosecution files were prepared but just five proceeded to court stage.
Cork City Council saw 15 cases brought to court for non payment of on-the-spot litter fines and two cases secured in court. Kerry County Council saw 1,292 fines issued, 70 prosecutions taken for non-payment and 66 were successful.