Dublin City Council have cut back on street cleaning

The capital city is in danger of regaining its pre-boom tag of 'dirty ol' Dublin' after the city council drastically cut the frequency of street-cleaning in residential streets.

Under Dublin City Council's 'Litter Management Plan', footpaths and roads in residential streets which were swept and cleaned once a week will now only be cleaned once every three months.

The same residential streets will get a wash by a mechanical road-sweep just once every three months to include weed removal while the footpaths will be washed "in emergencies only", according to the council's cutback plan.

Residents' associations have complained that litter, leaves and weeds regularly block up shores and gullies, which can cause flooding in heavy rain. Reducing the road-sweeping to once a quarter will heighten such flood risks, they argue.

But the city's main city centre streets such as O'Connell Street, Henry Street and Grafton Street, and high footfall areas or category A areas, will continue to be swept five times a day and litter bins will be emptied six times a day. A mechanical road-sweep will be done once a day.

Category B areas, defined as "other city centre streets", suburban villages, shopping areas and approach roads to Dart and Luas stations will be swept just once a day or "where necessary", according to the council.

Litter bins in category B area streets will be empted two to four times a day and will get a mechanical road-sweep once a day but, unlike main city centre streets, not at the weekend.

Residential streets are classed as category C.

Fine Gael councillor Naoise Ó Muirí, who admitted that he backed the council's new litter management plan without spotting the drastic cut in street-sweeping in residential streets, is tabling a motion for next month's council meeting to "review" the cut.

"A weekly sweep of residential roads is not always possible, but one clean every quarter is too infrequent and has to be reviewed," said Ó Muirí.

Ó Muirí also wants to know where all the council's labour, which has been displaced due to the cutbacks in capital projects, is being deployed.

In its litter management plan, the council said last year it cost €37m to clean the city's streets with 550 staff.

Despite the cutbacks the council said it will support local residents' associations in tackling the build-up of litter in their neighbourhoods.