Community clean-up in Crossmaglen

August 5, 2013

Members of the Crossmaglen community took matters into their own hands last Wednesday to clean up the abandoned waste outside a private business site which had been polluting the town.

Sinn Fein Councillor Terry Hearty, along with the Crossmaglen Area Safety Group, organised the clean-up at the site of the former SuperValu shopping centre.

Huge amounts of waste had been left at the site by the building’s administrator in a skip which was never removed.  Further dumping by others into this skip and around the site had only added to the problem, attracting vermin and damaging the image of the town.

Councillor Hearty said the people of the town had been forced to undertake the clean-up operation themselves as they had waited too long on administrators to “do the right thing.”

“I had been liaising with the administrator of the site for the past two months in an effort to get them to live up to their responsibilities and remove the rubbish from the site,” he said.

“However, all I got in return was one excuse after another.  The administrator kept passing the buck onto the bank that owned the site and claiming that they wouldn’t pay for it to be cleared.

“I contacted the Council’s Environmental Health Department who issued an Enforcement Notice under the Litter Act compelling the administrator to clear the site. However, once again they played the blame game saying the bank was responsible and that any letters should be sent to them.

“At this stage it was clear that this was just a delaying tactic and that both the bank and the administrator were happy to let this rubbish continue to fester in the heat, attracting rodents, causing a terrible smell and damaging the image of the town.

“We decided to take matters into our own hands and deal with this health hazard ourselves.

“We got the council to supply us with a skip, and armed with nothing more than gloves, brushes, disinfectant and pride in our town we cleaned the site ourselves.

“We removed around 10 tons of waste from the site, completely cleaned the area, washed it down and sprayed it with disinfectant.

“The site is no longer a health hazard or blight on the town thanks to the efforts of local people and I would urge the community to ensure it stays that way.  If anyone witnesses any further dumping on this site I would ask them to contact Environmental Health immediately.

“We need to treat our town with more respect than the bank and administrators of this site did.

“I also want to offer my sincere thanks to the Crossmaglen Area Safety Group, it would have been impossible to clear the sight without them.”