Mayor of Kilkenny Sean O’ hArgain has promised there will be action to eradicate the scourge of late-night city littering, which recently saw revellers leave City Hall under a sea of discarded fast-food packaging and waste.
There was public outcry on the morning of December 27, when the city awoke to find its historic Tholsel building strewn with all manner of debris from a number of nearby restaurant franchises. It has served to ignite a fresh debate over the opening hours of the fast-food outlets, their respective litter regimes, and the conduct of their clientele.
There were no council staff working on December 27, as part of a cost-saving measure under the Croke Park Agreement.
Cllr Joe Malone brought the matter to the attention of senior engineer for the borough Kieran Fitzgerald. By that time, however, staff from the adjacent Supermacs Kilkenny, as well as members of Keep Kilkenny Beautiful, had arrived on the scene to tidy up.
There are a number of fast food outlets along High Street, some of which remain open long after the pubs and clubs have closed. The majority of the rubbish on December 27 was not from Supermacs, and two Facebook posts from the company on the issue elicited hundreds of comments and likes on the restaurant’s social media page.
Supermacs Kilkenny published a Facebook comment saying that the business ‘prides itself as being a part of this community with an end of night litter patrol and last night was no different.’
“We were also shocked to see the level of litter left on the Town Hall last night,” reads the comment.
“We closed at 1am last night and cleared any rubbish our customers left. However, when we left the building at 2.15am, the there was close to 150 people eating food under the Town Hall.
“This rubbish was still there when we returned this morning. I can assure you this rubbish was not ours as ours is a very distinctive red with the name Supermacs on it.”
According to those present, the litter was from a variety of High Street fast food establishments. But while Supermacs closed at 1am on the evening, other restaurants remained open until later.
Mayor Sean O’ hArgain now says there has to be a new discussion on the matter, which will involve council staff as well as all of the outlets themselves. He says there will be a review of opening hours, and of how establishments deal with waste issues.
“As mayor, it is my intention to ensure we address this problem,” he said.
“The incident does, however, serve to highlight exactly how much work the council staff do on a day-to-day basis. I would like to thank everyone who helped clean up the mess at the Town Hall that morning.”
In related news, Kilkenny this week came in at the top of the IBAL anti-litter survey.