The Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, is to ask Wicklow County Council to work as quickly as possible to clean up 100 tonnes of waste dumped at the back of the Sugar Loaf Mountain in Co Wicklow.

The waste is all that remains after a group of up to nine Traveller families, who had moved onto the common land during an annual visit to the area, moved away at the weekend after staying five weeks.

The area is a well-known beauty spot, and is popular with local walkers and tourists.

Amongst the waste on the site are three smashed up caravans, a car, building and domestic waste, as well as numerous fridges, cookers and other white goods.

The council estimates it will take up to three days to clean the site, at a cost of up to €5,000.

The council says it has to deal with around five cases of dumping of this size each year.

It believes much of the rubbish originates from people who paid others to dispose of it on their behalf.

The council is appealing to householders and businesses not to pay others to dispose of waste unless they are certain that they hold a valid waste management permit.

Minister Roche, who is a local TD, has condemned the dumping. He said the Travelling community had a responsibility not to behave in such a manner.

Labour's Deputy Leader, and another local TD, Liz McManus, also condemned the dumping.

She called for swift action by the council and gardaí in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Deputy McManus said it would take the jailing of people responsible for such dumping, or those they are dumping goods on behalf of, to get the message through.

A spokesman for the nearby Bray Traveller Development Group said that it would not condone such illegal dumping by anyone anywhere. But the spokesman questioned why the council had not taken action against those responsible earlier.