Ballymun and north inner city among our biggest litter blackspots
Ballymun has been named the litter black spot of Ireland, sparking questions on why less affluent neighbourhoods are lagging behind.
The north Dublin town came last on a list of 40 towns and cities assessed as part of the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) survey and the inner city of Dublin came a close second last.
Ballymun recorded one of the worst results since the litter league was founded 17 years ago.
IBAL felt in part this was due to the "widespread use of bags over bins in domestic waste collection".
The litter examiner said it was "especially disappointing that sites which had been top ranking in previous surveys were littered".
Kilkenny gained first place in the country as the least littered area and was marked as being cleaner than European norms.
Dublin, Galway, Cork city and Killarney saw record levels of cleanliness, according to the survey.
"Today's tourists demand high levels of cleanliness and these results indicate that's what they will be getting this year when they come to Ireland," said IBAL's Conor Horgan.
"It's also important their first impression be a good one, so it's pleasing to see the roads around Dublin Airport are again clean to European norms."
An Taisce complimented Kilkenny on "returning to a place it has been many times - the top of the IBAL table".
"The entire area was pristine," it added.
Portlaoise, Tralee and Letterkenny enjoyed their best-ever showings in the survey and were among 14 towns deemed to be cleaner than European norms.
"An indication of the progress we've made over the past five years has been the absence of litter black spots in our survey," said Mr Horgan.
"However, as the Ballymun and other results show, there has been little if any progress in disadvantaged areas of our cities.
"The gap between these areas and the commercial high-footfall commercial city centres is widening."
Litter levels were assessed in 40 towns and cities across the country by An Taisce, which found 31 of them, or 77pc, to be clean.
Kilkenny led the rankings for the fifth time, ahead of Athlone and Killarney, and the centres of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Waterford were cleaner than previously.
Only Limerick failed to achieve 'clean status'. The city came 35th, toward the bottom of the table.
Galvone in Limerick city south was deemed 'littered', but improved significantly on its previous result, while the Mahon in Cork and Cork's northside remained littered.
According to IBAL, changing domestic waste collection from plastic bags to conventional bins could significantly improve cleanliness in this area.
IBAL is calling on Dublin City Council to review the streets exempted from an EU law requiring waste collection by bins and work with the private waste companies to introduce special bins where space is an issue.
"The derogation from the EU law in the north inner city is too broad, with damaging consequences," the organisation added.