€87,000 spent cleaning up damage from bonfires

€87,000 spent cleaning up damage from bonfires

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A COUNCILLOR is calling for the return of council-run bonfires following the news that South Dublin County Council spent €87,000 last Halloween on a number of things, including plant, machinery and waste disposal costs, and payroll for staff who worked over the Halloween period.

The council recorded 388 bonfires in the county, with a majority of 240 taking place south of the N7, which covers Tallaght, Templeougue, Rathfarnham, Rathcoole, Newcastle, Greenhills, Jobstown and Citywest.

bonfires collage

Meanwhile 148 bonfires were recorded north of the N7, which covers Clondalkin, Lucan, Balgaddy, Palmerstown, Neilstown and Ronanstown.

From mid-October through to Halloween, the council was notified of approximately 300 locations where stockpiling for bonfires was occurring. However, due to the large number of reports received, it was “not physically possible” for the council to remove all of the reported material.

Tallaght central Fianna Fáil councillor Charlie O’Connor told The Echo: “Every year we talk about trying to stop bonfires, which damage our open spaces.

“This is money that could be spent on more meaningful pursuits by South Dublin County Council.”

Cllr O’Connor added: “Nobody wants to be a killjoy – bonfires can have a positive element, but not when they’re destroying our open spaces.

“There should be organised bonfires, so that there’s some control.”

The council removed 201 tonnes of waste over the Halloween period, 55 tonnes of which was bonfire materials that were collected by council staff and prevented from being placed on bonfires over the bank holiday weekend.

In the two-week period prior to Halloween a total of 156 tonnes of waste were collected by council staff, and they have estimated that the vast majority of this waste was material intended for use on bonfires.

According to the council, all clean-ups have been completed and reseeding will take place next spring.

When contacted for comment about the potential for council-run bonfires, a spokesperson for SDCC told The Echo that they have no plans to bring back council-organised bonfires.

The spokesperson stated: “It is our experience that when the council has organised these events in the past, while they have been successful events they haven’t resulted in a reduction in the number of illegal bonfires in the county.

“There is no provision in the 2018 budget for council organised bonfires.”

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