I thank the Minister of State for facilitating this debate at this late hour. Last Wednesday, I attended a safety forum in Darndale. Safety forums across the northside are meetings that take place to discuss issues of concern in the local area, attended by local city council officials and gardaí. They are an effective way for local communities to raise their concerns with local representatives, city council officials, the Garda etc.
The issue of this illegal commercial dump that has been in the general Darndale area for a number of years has come to a head. It has gone completely out of control. I visited the dump during the week with my colleague, Councillor Alison Gilliland, and was stunned by what I saw. There has always been a commercial dump, which has been an issue raised constantly with the city council, but now, possibly because of Covid but definitely in recent months, it is the number one issue in the area. It is out of control and dangerous. There are huge mounds of commercial waste and of earth. It is being overseen in an illegal fashion as a commercial entity.
I visited it again today and rats were clearly visible running around this illegal commercial dump, which is in close proximity to people's homes. They are citing issues of ill health in the local community and are demanding that the council and other agencies of the State work to remove the dump and utilise the ground for more productive purposes. It could be used for housing, leisure facilities or commercial entities. There are any amount of possibilities for that spot of land, but currently it is a disgusting, unhealthy, illegal mound of commercial waste.
My colleague, Councillor Gilliland, and other local councillors have called for a high-level task force to be set up. In other areas of my constituency such a task force has been successful. It has never been tasked with dealing with this size of a dump but that solution is being put forward as the way forward. On Monday, there will be a meeting of the local area committee on the north-central area of Dublin City Council. I believe the chief executive of the council has an interest in attending or, certainly, in being proactive about moving this material but it will need support from the Department and the Government because the council will not have the resources to do what needs to be done. Is the Department familiar with the problem? Is it liaising with Dublin City Council? If a task force is established and a way forward decided upon, will the Department be in a position to help the council to fund such a move for the benefit of the local community?