Dublin's Lord Mayor today warned that war had been declared on litter louts after the capital slumped to the bottom of Ireland's litter league.
The city was in 39th place out of 40 urban centres in the Irish Business Against Litter annual survey.
"Dublin City Council have declared war on litter louts. They will not be tolerated. They will find you, as Liam Neeson says, and you will be prosecuted," said Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhalaigh.
She told the Herald the people were "sick of litter louts".
The City Council achieved good results in the north inner city, but the main tourist areas of the city had fallen in litter standards, she admitted.
Council staff start at the crack of dawn to clear up illegal dumping of domestic refuse, but the problem returns "by 10am," she said.
The latest survey by the Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) alliance showed previous litter blackspots in Dublin were improving, but the capital was still deemed to be "littered".
Dumping has spoiled the Tallaght to Lucan road route. Killarney was judged the cleanest town, followed by Dungarvan and Tralee. Connecting roads between 34 towns were assessed and found to be less littered than last year.
For the first time, no towns were branded as blackspots or seriously littered.
"The most striking aspect of this survey is the improvement in neglected urban areas, such as Dublin's north inner city," said Conor Horgan of IBAL.
Both areas have improved from 'litter blackspot' to 'littered' status this time round. The work of Dublin City Council is bearing fruit in these areas," he said.
"This could be a turning point, as for years these neglected urban areas showed no improvement whatsoever."
The report praised Dublin's north inner city "which, if progress continues, will soon be clean to European norms.
Sites such as Irvine Terrace and Store Street were not just clear of litter but carefully presented and maintained.
The North Circular Road, Portland Row and Seville Place were cleaner than in the past.
However, the former Small Business Centre in Gardiner Street was in a "shocking state" and Spencer Dock suffered from "huge amounts of litter".
Visitors to Dublin City Centre encountered more litter than previously, with even high footfall areas such as Grafton Street and O'Connell Street slipping to "moderately littered".
The report, carried out by An Taisce for IBAL, slammed the Manor Street/Brunswick Street/Church Street area as "a litter blackspot, as was a site on Capel Street".
"The great majority of tourist towns again showed their best side to tourists this summer.
"Unfortunately, for Ireland to project a clean image, we need our capital city to be free of litter, and this year we are seeing a deterioration in cleanliness levels in Dublin City Centre, and indeed several roads around Dublin Airport, where most of our visitors enter the country," he said.
The survey showed sweet papers, cigarette butts, fast food wrappers and chewing gum were the most common forms of litter.