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Sunday 25 June 2017

Man avoids fine over dog fouling due to syringes left in city park

Carer Liam Nolan said a syringe prevented him cleaning up dog mess Picture: Collins
Carer Liam Nolan said a syringe prevented him cleaning up dog mess Picture: Collins

A carer, who claimed he was unable to clean up after his dog in a Dublin park because of the number of syringes left behind by drug addicts, has avoided a €4,000 fine.

Liam Nolan, from Oliver Bond House, Oliver Bond Street, Dublin 8, was prosecuted for dog fouling by Dublin City Council after he refused to accept an on-the-spot fine on June 14 last at St Audeons public park.

However, he avoided a conviction and a fine after arguing his case at Dublin District Court, where he faced a charge under the Litter Pollution Act.

He represented himself during the trial and told Judge John Brennan that he always uses the park for dog walks and cleans up after his pet.

However, on the date in question he attempted to remove his dog's faeces but he noted that within a "hair's breadth" of the faeces there was a syringe.

He said he could not remove the dog mess and refused to accept a €150 fine from a warden, whom he claimed "did not want to hear me".

Mr Nolan said that, after he left, a garda approached him about the issue on nearby Thomas Street.

He returned to the park a day or two later and took photos of the needles he had seen, which he showed to the judge.

He said he had made reports to gardai about the syringes in the park and claimed there was a used-needle bin there that had made the problems worse.

Needles

In cross-examination it was put to him that it was his responsibility to clean up his dog's mess and dispose of it in a suitable manner.

Mr Nolan told the court he had shown pictures of needles to a council official, who told him that specialist equipment was required and advised him "not to go near that".

He told the judge that children from the local school cannot go to the park, which he claimed was used by hundreds of heroin addicts who attend the Merchant's Quay homeless and drugs support service.

The judge said the litter warden had acted professionally and he had no doubt that Mr Nolan was belligerent, but he was satisfied that this was because of a risk to his health and safety and his reason appeared to be genuine. He struck out the case.

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