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Last Friday near Moatview Court, a broken trampoline, a rusted washing machine, a broken buggy, a wheelbarrow and a rusted old bike are among the detritus that stuck out of a hill of rubbish.
There are smaller piles of rubbish scattered around the green in front of the larger and older illegal dump too.
At one spot near people’s homes towards Belcamp Gardens, lies an old freezer, and a foam mattress among a pile of cans, cartons and plastic bottles.
Some rubbish has been burnt on the green and the grass is blackened. “That’s people pulling up in trucks,” says local resident Annette Flanagan, by phone. “That is not the residents doing it.”
The illegal dumping on this spot started around 20 years ago, and it discourages people from visiting, she says. “We should not be living like this. It’s humiliating.”
For years, residents living around Moatview Court have complained about these growing mounds of illegally dumped waste on council land. They have worried that it is making them sick, complained of plagues of rats, and said they are fearful of letting their kids out to play.
In September last year, Dublin City Council’s Chief Executive Owen Keegan finally set out the council’s plan for dealing with the piles of waste built up in the neighbourhood.
It included several steps: putting up CCTV, tendering for a contractor to treat and remove the waste, and putting up a wall around the site. The council would also authorise gardaí to act without council officials, he said.
Already though, timelines have drifted.
In September 2022, Keegan said that gardaí would be trained under the Waste Management Act and authorised to act within four to six weeks.
Gardaí previously couldn’t do that unless a council staff member was present, he said.
“They would be able to initiate prosecutions without the presence of city council officials,” said Keegan in September. “So that’s a big step forward.”
That has been done, said a council spokesperson. The council has authorised 15 gardaí in Coolock Garda Station to enforce the Waste Management Act, they said.
Flanagan, the local resident, says she has not seen any gardaí in the area recently. The Garda press office didn’t respond in time for publication to queries about this.
Keegan also said in September that a new CCTV camera would be up within eight weeks.
At the end of December, a spokesperson said that would be done in early January. The delay was because of “contractor availability”, they said.
They didn’t respond to queries sent Thursday as to whether it is now installed. On Friday, there didn’t appear to be any CCTV up on the Moatview Court side of the illegal dump.
In September, Keegan also said that the council would launch a planning process in November that would allow it to remove the waste and build a new boundary wall around the site.
Flanagan, the local resident, says that the council hasn’t presented any plans for removing the dump or building the wall yet.
She thinks that the council has carried out some testing on the site, she says.
Past testing in late 2019 found asbestos-containing materials on the landfill’s surface, but that overall none of the pollutants presented a significant human health risk. That was spot testing, though, and the dump has grown since.
In December, the council spokesperson said it had engaged a contractor to again test the waste. “We expect the laboratory soil testing results and a final report from the contractor by mid-February 2023.”
Building a wall around the site and removing and treating the waste is likely to cost around €10 million, said Keegan in September. “This would obviously be a huge imposition on the city council.”
But he intended to try two central government departments to help the council fund it, he said. “And will set about doing that straightaway.”
At the end of November last year, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications said, in response to a Freedom of Information request, that it hadn’t had any correspondence from Keegan about help with funding to clear the big illegal dump.