Limerick councillor calls for drones to catch ‘foul play’ by dog owners

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Former mayor Kieran O’Hanlon believes the technology should go further

Former mayor Kieran O’Hanlon believes the technology should go further

FOUR drones are operating in the skies over Limerick aiming to catch people dumping illegally.

But former mayor Kieran O’Hanlon believes the technology should go further, being utilised to catch dog owners who do not pick up after their pooch has fouled.

The scheme is in place as part of a government initiative to tackle illegal dumping, with Limerick having the most drones – four – alongside Leitrim.

Cllr O’Hanlon said: “I've been walking the footpaths throughout the city, and to see the dog-fouling going on is terrible. It would be great to catch the owners who do not clean up the mess after their dogs. It would be a marvellous idea,” the former Mayor of Limerick said.

“People are in wheelchairs, in buggies with prams. Ordinary people are going to work and have dog poo on their shoes. It's absolutely disgraceful. I don't think it's very funny,” he added.

The use of drones was welcomed by fellow committee member Cllr Marian Hurley.

"People are still fly-tipping around city and county. There are still hidden areas which are hard to get to. They really do need catch these people.

“They can't put man or woman power out there, so they are reduced to this. It's an awful shame, but it's the only way we are going to contradict this and deal with this,” Cllr Hurley said.

Limerick is one of 18 local authorities using drones to also enforce building regulations and help out emergency services during incidents.

A spokesperson for the local authority says the devices have helped combat illegal dumping.

“You can cover a large area in a short time. The areas where the drones are used would otherwise be difficult to access. The drones also allow for improved safety of staff as they now do not have to enter risky areas,” they said.

Since 2017, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment has given €2.3m to councils through the anti-dumping initiative.

The funding has supported more than 400 projects and removed over 5,000 tonnes of illegally dumped waste.

Asked if Limerick Council has any plan to expand the use of drones, the spokesperson added it is “always open to using technology to assist in our day to day operations. Provided it is cost efficient and will be of benefit.”