No family should have to navigate illegally dumped – and often dangerous – waste left right outside their home, and especially when lovely lad Jack, who has several special needs, is particularly vulnerable to its impact

A North Dublin mum is calling for people to be aware of the impact that illegal dumping can have on households, as piles of rubbish are repeatedly left behind her home and regularly set alight.

Laura Fox is mum to a two-year-old, a three-year-old and 13-year-old Jack, who has post-Strep B Meningitis after contracting the disease at two-weeks-old.

As a result, he has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a global developmental delay and the severe epilepsy condition West syndrome, in addition to being visually impaired and non-verbal.

Because Jack is in a wheelchair, he can only access their North Circular Road home through a rear gate as the front steps are inaccessible for his chair.

However, the dumping of rubbish, food, and larger items such as mattresses and swing sets in the alley behind their home are a regular occurrence, Laura said, since moving into the area in 2017.

Speaking to Dublin Gazette, Laura said Dublin City Council have been helpful, but that dumping is still a regular issue.

She said: “I’ve had to physically remove swing sets, tables and car seats to just get out of our own house.

“Obviously, I can walk out of our front door, but I can’t with Jack [and his chair], so that’s why we go through the back. It’s been awful.”

Laura says there have been about nine fires at her back gate as people continue to set fire to what has been dumped, and fears that these could one day escalate.

“My main fear is the fires. It’s detrimental to Jack. He has incredibly high medical needs.

“He has the right to go out his front door – the back gate is Jack’s ‘front door’, for appointments, for emergencies, for everyday life. He should be able to leave and enter safely.

“If there was an emergency and an ambulance needed to get up the lane to us, or if we had to get out to an urgent appointment and I was unable to move whatever was dumped behind our gate by myself, Jack wouldn’t be able to get out,” she said.

Laura said that the council have been great with engaging with the family, and around April last year began doing weekly checks of the area for dumping, even putting up a CCTV camera and a No Dumping sign.

However, less than a week after being installed, both the camera and sign were vandalised beyond repair and weren’t replaced. That was eight months ago.

She said: “I’ve gotten so frustrated that I need to do something, that I need people in the area to be aware. Does someone have to get hurt before the problem is solved?”

In a statement to Dublin Gazette, the council said that they are aware of the dumping, and are actively trying to clean the area.

The council said it “is aware of the location … and takes regular action to combat the issues, including ongoing cleaning of the entrance to the area”.

The statement continued: “We will ensure that the area is regularly monitored and inspected to address any illegal dumping that occurs and that access is maintained, and are making arrangements to address any dumping that may have occurred within … the laneway.”

To report illegal dumping, contact the Dublin City Litter Hotline at 1800 251 500.