Residents who live overlooking a vast illegal dump on the northside of Cork city have demanded a start-date for a promised clean-up.
And the Irish Examiner has learned that the basic clean-up of the city council-owned Ellis’s Yard site in Ballyvolane will cost at least €53,000.
The price does not include the cost of erecting new fencing around the entire site, extensive pest control measures, or the installation of a new CCTV system in a bid to deter future dumping on the site, which adjoins the Spring Lane Traveller halting site.
The figure emerged last night amid renewed pressure from residents for the clean-up to begin.
They staged a protest outside City Hall almost two weeks ago over the dumping scandal, and called for the rubbish to be cleared, for the site to be bulldozed, and for the area to be developed to prevent any more dumping.
The Irish Examiner has previously reported how 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.
One local resident, Shay Hegney, said the illegal dumping has escalated in the last three or four years, with an increase in smells from the site and an increase in rubbish fires:
Sometimes you just throw your hat at it and just close your windows, don't invite too many friends over, meet your friends in town, don't invite them over, don't bring them into your area because it's embarrassing. It's humiliating.
"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.”
The council said it shares residents’ frustration with the situation and is planning to clean the area "in the coming weeks".
The works will also include the repair of the surrounding palisade fencing and the installation of CCTV to deter future dumping on the site.
Funding for the work has been secured and talks between City Hall and the contractors are at an advanced stage. A start date will be agreed today.
It is understood the council wants to run the clean-up at the same time as the fencing and CCTV works and that the coordination and timing of the various contracts took more time to finalise than anticipated.
In an open letter yesterday to the city council’s director of environment Valerie O’Sullivan, protest organiser Noreen Murphy demanded a start-date for the clean-up and security work.
“The dumping is continuing unhindered and fires continue to burn regularly at the toxic dump site. As your department has responsibility for enforcing environmental regulations, can you tell me if you have any plans to prosecute the owners of the site?” she asked.
“As you are probably aware, air pollution is responsible for approximately 1,660 premature deaths in Ireland every year.
“Residents of Ballyvolane, who suffer from asthma and other chronic breathing or cardio difficulties, may possibly face an increased risk of deteriorating health and possibly death due to the toxic smoke from the fires on Cork City Council property at Ellis's Yard.”