Penalties loom for beach louts

The Mayor of Donegal is warning that those who leave rubbish on the county’s beaches may soon face penalties including fines.

The Mayor of Donegal is warning that those who leave rubbish on the county’s beaches may soon face penalties including fines.

Speaking exclusively to the Donegal Democrat/People’s Press, independent councillor Ian McGarvey, said he’s had enough. “Those who dump their rubbish on our beaches are destroying them for others. Our beaches are one of the few amenities that everyone can enjoy for free, a major attraction to visitors, and a big boost to our tourism economy. What’s going on is unacceptable. It’s everyone’s responsibility to dispose of their own rubbish responsibly and not leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

“We are badly in need of a comprehensive beach policy for Donegal. It’s too haphazard and, in too many cases, it’s left to local volunteers who do not benefit in any way to tidy up our beaches. One of my main priorities as mayor is to bring in a policy to deal with this and people who abuse our resources may well find themselves facing penalties.”

One of the council’s two mobile litter units collected a full lorry load of rubbish from Rossnowlagh beach last Friday morning. The two workers spoke, asking not to be named.“You wouldn’t believe what we find, everything but the winning lottery ticket,” one said. “Disposable BBQs, dirty nappies, sanitary pads, even children’s buggies, towels, plastic bottles and cups are all just left on the sand.”

The other worker added: “The worst thing, though, is definitely the broken bottles. All that glass is so dangerous, half hidden by the sand. How would these people feel if their child cut a hand or foot on a day out at the beach?”

One recent Monday, the men lifted three tons of rubbish, they said.

Liam Ward, a director of services at DCC, added: “Our staff can’t spend all of their time cleaning beaches. We appeal to everyone to do their bit.”

Paul Diver, of the Sandhouse Hotel, says the council should do more. “This is one of the most popular beaches in the country. We need more bins as well as collections each morning and each evening.”