Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has said that a balanced approach is needed for an outdoor summer, which includes provision of additional public bins, toilet facilities, seats, litter wardens, and Gardaí.
She further criticised any suggestion to close streets or public spaces over the coming weeks.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The public health message for some time now has been that we will have a great deal of our summer outdoors, and yet many are now surprised at people spending that summer outdoors.
“For many weeks, I have been calling on the government, and city and county councils, to prepare for this outdoor summer by putting facilities such as additional public bins, toilet facilities, seats, litter wardens, and Gardaí in place.
“I have asked the Tánaiste directly, in the Dáil and again in the Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee, to ensure the government provides funding so that city and county councils can provide the necessary facilities in our towns and cities to allow people to spend quality and enjoyable time in our public spaces.
“While the Tánaiste agreed with me on both occasions, additional public bins and toilet facilities have not been delivered, and the predictable result of this is the accumulation of litter in our public spaces.
“I have been clear every time I have spoken on this subject – there is no place for anti-social behaviour in public spaces, it should not be tolerated, and it should be dealt with by properly resourcing the Gardaí to do so.
“However, most of the issues which arose in our public spaces over the weekend were due to the failure to provide the necessary number of public bins and the failure to provide public toilet facilities.
“Despite having over a year to prepare and perfect the delivery of outdoor summer, there has been little movement on providing the basic facilities necessary. Instead, we have politicians who have failed to prepare for the inevitable moralising and lambasting young people.
“The suggestion that we lock off streets and public spaces is the usual Irish solution to an Irish problem – just ban things instead of addressing the root cause. Banning people from streets will just push friends and family to socialise elsewhere outdoors.
“What is needed for an outdoor summer is the provision of additional public bins, toilet facilities, seats, litter wardens, Gardaí, and a collective responsibility to ensure public health restrictions and public order is adhered to. If we do this then we can all can enjoy a summer outdoors.”