A team of enforcers has been employed by Dublin city council to search through dumped rubbish to uncover the identities of illegal dumpers.

The council says the majority of cases where it employs this method are incidences where skip bags provided by skip companies have been left uncollected due to unpaid fees.

"Skip bags are generally distributed free of charge by skip companies," a council spokesman said. "When the bag is filled the skip company should be contacted and they will collect the bag at a cost. The cost and the contact details are provided on the skip bag.

"In general this procedure is ignored and the skip bag is dumped. Dublin City Council may search skip bags which are dumped [for details that might identify who dumped it]".

Fine Gael's environment spokesman Phil Hogan said he had "never heard of the practice of going through the rubbish bags" and called on the environment minister John Gormley to formulate an adequate waste management strategy.

"The minister promised constructive action on this and I support him on that. But so far he has spent his time having a war with the council on incinerators in Poolbeg. There is a growing escalation of illegal dumping in Ireland and this is something which needs to be tackled immediately before the problem escalates even more."

According to Hogan, there is currently no adequate policy to deal with those who are illegally dumping, or to decide where waste will be placed over the coming years.

"The minister has no adequate policy in place as to exactly where our waste, illegal or otherwise, will be put over the next few years, and this is at a time when it is vital we take every action that we possibly can."