A group in Co Kerry have written to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to raise the issue of persistent littering at Dingle Marina, threatening to protest in the area if measures are not taken to address the problem.
XR (Extinction Rebellion) Kerry wrote to the department's three ministers; Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Ministers of State Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon regarding the issue, which the group have described as a "disgrace".
In the letter, XR Kerry said the area, which the group claim is under the department's remit, "is failing to uphold government policy on the environment".
"Over a dozen park benches were installed for public use along the promenade and walking areas but there is not one single litter bin or recycling bin in any of the three car parks, the fishing boat pier, anchorage areas, or the public walking and eating areas, all of which are managed by your government department," the letter states.
The group adds that one "overstretched" staff member is tasked with picking up the rubbish each day, however, the quantity of litter in the vicinity would make them unable to fulfil their other tasks due to the time commitment.
Images showing the rubbish left in the area were included with the letter to the department, which XR Kerry said were all taken "on one single afternoon last week". Much of the discarded items shown in the pictures were takeaway food containers, in addition to single-use face masks.
"How can sea-life and the environment be protected while this travesty is allowed to continue?" the letter, signed by XR Kerry regional coordinator Luke Eastwook, said.
"XR strongly object to the pathetic management of this facility and call on all three ministers to personally intervene to have this ecological disaster for Dingle put right.
"If you ignore this and choose to do nothing then you can expect XR protests at the Dingle Marina in the near future," it added.
Fishery Harbour Centres
In response to XR Kerry's claims, in a comment issued to Breakingnews.ie, the department said: "Dingle Harbour is one of six designated State-owned Fishery Harbour Centres (FHC) owned, operated and maintained by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine under statute.
"Dingle FHC has a department approved waste management plan in place to facilitate handling and disposal of all categories of waste received from harbour users. Due to the nature of this waste, these facilities are not publicly accessible. As the FHC is in the centre of a tourist town, waste facilities are discreetly fenced off."
"Dingle FHC has installed a sea bin to help with the issue of littering and the removal of small flotsam for the basin areas," the department added, while also stressing the individual responsibility of visitors to properly dispose of their rubbish.
The department said the seating referred to by XR Kerry was installed "in accordance with Age Action Ireland recommendations on the spacing of seats for the elderly and movement impaired members of our society", and added that Kerry County Council have operational control of the three car parks referenced in the group's letter.