Bertie should take EU bigwigs to Clare Glens

ISN'T it amazing how environmentally conscious our ministers become each time Europe's political leaders and their accompanying entourage roll into Dublin as part of our EU presidency?

My friends in Dublin cheerfully report that a constant cleaning effort is especially noticeable ahead of important EU meetings in Dublin and its hinterland.

I wish Bertie Ahern would invite Europe's leaders on a short tour of the real Ireland for a change.

He could invite them to visit the Clare Glens, once a pristine haven of tranquility serving nature lovers and families in the mid-west seeking leisurely forest walks and relaxation along a quiet rolling valley outside Newport in Co Tipperary.

How things have turned for the worse. Today, the Clare Glens is a depressing eyesore. It's green areas, hedgerows and forest walks are festooned with litter. The river and adjacent banks are used for the illegal dumping of domestic rubbish, making the entire amenity unsightly, stinking of unknown decomposing materials and attracting large numbers of vermin. This is Ireland's environmental legacy, the dark side of this country that visiting statesmen and Europe's leading bureaucrats will never get to see while being wined and dined by our ministers.

The Clare Glens is badly littered because Irish men, women and children make it that way by carelessly discarding the packaging of their shop-bought consumer goods and, in a more sinister vein, by using this once-beautiful wooded haven for the illegal dumping of domestic rubbish.

The Clare Glens, bordering Limerick and Tipperary, is unique. In any other European country it would be protected, cherished and enjoyed by all. But this is Ireland which treats heritage areas such this as little more than public dumping sites to trash and destroy.

Who among us is brave enough to shout stop?

Dominic MacMahon,

Drumcanny,

Lisnagry,

Co Limerick.

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