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American tourist cleans Croagh Patrick

Questions have been asked with regard to who is responsible for keeping Croagh Patrick litter free.
Questions have been asked with regard to who is responsible for keeping Croagh Patrick litter free. ?Pic: Michael Mc Laughlin

Reek rubbish clean-up by American tourist

Áine Ryan

WELL, St Patrick would turn in his grave. The Mayo News is not used to being dumped on – well, not litter-ally. So when an American tourist walked in to the front office and dumped a large black refuse sack of rubbish in reception last week, naturally, our news noses twitched.
Apparently, diligent citizen, Doug Dimond of Minneapolis, collected the rubbish while descending holy mountain, Croagh Patrick. Westport Town Council confirmed yesterday that he also brought the bag – filled with empty sandwich cartons and plastic bottles – to its offices on Altamont Street.
So, who is responsible for keeping the country’s iconic holy mountain clean? Not the county council, it seems. Neither is it Murrisk Development Association. Its longtime chairman, Johnny Groden told The Mayo News last night that ‘it was up to each pilgrim and each climber to be responsible for their own rubbish’.
Murrisk Development Association is a regular winner in the Tidy Towns competition and is renowned for its community spirit and pride.
“In relation to Croagh Patrick, last weekend alone we collected six bags of rubbish in the vicinity of the car park and around the base of the mountain. For the entire season we clean-up every day but nobody from our organisation is going to take responsibility for the mountainside. We take responsibility for the five miles around the base and for the mountain up as far as the statue,” Johnny Groden said.
When contacted by The Mayo News, John McHale, Acting County Secretary, said: “The path up Croagh Patrick is not in our control and we are not responsible for its maintenance as it is privately owned. If, however, we became aware of illegal dumping in the area we would investigate the matter and try to identify the perpetrators.”
Westport’s Director of Services, Martin Keating confirmed he was about to attend a meeting of stakeholders last night (Monday) who are devising a strategy about the management of the holy mountain.
Mr Keating said: “There are ongoing initiatives between all of the stakeholders about the management of the mountain. Just because none of these organisations owns the mountain path does not mean that we do not care about its future. We plan to manage it in a more sustainable way. Litter is just one of the symptoms of the increased use.”

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