AN Enniskillen councillor has called for dogs to be banned from public spaces at the Lakeland Forum and the Derrychara Playing Fields as a rise in pet poo is causing havoc for footballers.
Pet owners were heavily criticised and described as “irresponsible” at last week’s meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Environmental Services Committee in a meeting that not only called for the banning of pets but for late-night litter louts to be handed fines.
One councillor, the Ulster Unionist’s Robert Irvine, even suggested a “tagging system” on packaging so offenders or the shop in which the product was purchased can be tracked down and fined.
“There is an issue on the football pitches and irresponsible dog owners not cleaning up after their dogs, especially at the Lakeland Forum and across the water at the playing fields,” Democratic Unionist Keith Elliott told the meeting.
“My understanding is the pitches are in an awful state in terms of dog mess. The enforcement officers, where are they? There was a report that four people were ticketed for this but the state these pitches are in… is there anything we can do as a Council to ban people walking their dogs on these football pitches. 
“You know yourself, you get dog mess in your eyes, or the ball skiting [the dog poo]. It is dangerous to health, even for Council workers cutting the grass,” he said. 
Councillor Elliott also requested that the Council put a special team together to target littering in Enniskillen’s Quay Lane car park. 
“It is an utter disgrace and these are people in their cars eating their takeaway on a Saturday night and firing it out the window. 
“I want the Council to look at putting an enforcement team together to ticket them and try to deter them for doing it,” he said. 
During an earlier conversation on litter, Councillor Irvine said the UK government, which recently announced that two million tonnes of plastic packaging is used in the country each year, should consider a “tagging system” to locate those who discard their waste.
“If people buy a can or a bottle be it plastic or glass and dispose of it that the authority that has to pick it up if it is not being recycled probably or brought back to a collection point can actually zap it and see where through its coding, where it was manufactured, where it was retailed and sold and try and actually tackle the source and actually at some stage join up and attach a fine back to either the retailer or the person who purchased it,” he said.
Director of Environment and Place: Kevin O’Gara said dog fouling was “an absolute no, no” and confirmed that the Council has considered banning dogs from the area.
“It is part of the walking route of Enniskillen but dogs shouldn’t be on pitches at all, whether they are on leads or not they shouldn’t be on pitches. We have tasked staff to keep an eye on it, certainly we will have a look at it. 
“With regards to late night ticketing of people in car parks when there is drink taken. We will look at, we have duty of care to our staff, I know there is a lot of anti social behaviour going on in those particular car parks,” he said.