Ireland's tourism 'under threat from litter'
Ireland's valuable tourism industry is under threat from litter, with Dublin city centre second from bottom of the latest cleanliness rankings.
While improving standards nationwide ensured no town or city was branded a blackspot, the Irish Business Against Litter (Ibal) alliance warned the capital needs to project an image for the rest of the country.
Using An Taisce research, the group heralded improvements in areas of Dublin and Cork which were named and shamed in previous reports.
But it warned the roads around Dublin Airport remain "moderately littered", the North Inner City is "littered" and parts of the city centre, particularly the busiest areas of O'Connell Street and Grafton Street are also branded littered.
Other areas which fair near the bottom of the rankings were Farranree in Cork city, which was bottom of the pile, Portlaoise and Athlone, while Tallaght, M idleton, Galway city and Monaghan were classed as "moderately littered".
Another 30 locations passed An Taisce's tests of being clean to European norms.
Killarney was judged the cleanest town in the country, followed by Dungarvan and Tralee.
Elsewhere, An Taisce reported much of the road linking Monaghan and Cavan was heavily littered and "created a very poor impression" while dumping was said to have spoiled the road between Tallaght and Lucan.
"The most striking aspect of this survey is the improvement in neglected urban areas such as Dublin's North Inner City and Cork's Farranree," said Conor Horgan, of Ibal.
"The work of Dublin and Cork City Council is bearing fruit in these areas.
"While littered status is clearly not good enough, we are seeing evidence that when a local authority concentrates its efforts on a problem area, it can bring about results. This could be a turning point, as for years these neglected urban areas showed no improvement whatsoever."
Ibal said Dublin's North Inner City will soon be Clean to European Norms if the work continues with Irvine Terrace and Store Street singled out for being carefully presented and maintained.
The North Circular Road, Portland Row and Seville Place were also said to be much cleaner than in the past but parts of Gardiner Street were said to be in a "shocking state" and Spencer Dock suffered from "huge amounts of litter".
The An Taisce report slammed the Manor Street /Brunswick Street/Church Street area as "a litter blackspot, as was a site on Capel Street."
Mr Horgan added: "Unfortunately, for Ireland to project a clean image, we need our capital city to be free of litter, and this year we are seeing a deterioration in cleanliness levels in Dublin city centre, and indeed several roads around Dublin Airport, where most of our visitors enter the country."
The survey found sweet papers, cigarette butts, fast food wrappers and chewing gum were the most common forms of litter.
And Ibal warned councils to do more to clean up after dogs, with fouling of public areas a cause of concern and special bins at risk of becoming unhygienic eyesores.