A survey suggests that four out of five Irish cities and towns are as clean as or cleaner than the European average.

The study, carried out by Irish Business Against Litter, indicates Irish people's attitude towards litter has changed considerably in recent years.

IBAL said the improvement seen since its survey was first done 11 years ago is "quite remarkable".

Kilkenny was named as the tidiest of the 42 towns and cities that were monitored, with Cavan in second place and Killarney in third.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, IBAL Chairman Dr Tom Cavanagh said: "The people here want to live in clean towns and they regard, in those communities, dumping and littering as unacceptable.

"You have business people, hoteliers, supermarkets, pubs, outside of shops cleaning the streets, not just inside, as well as schools, hospitals, railway and bus stations.

"They are all playing their part making the job of the local authorities easier."

The survey also suggests that there has been an improvement around Dublin Airport, previously considered a litter blackspot.

It also found that seven of the 42 locations surveyed were below average for cleanliness.

Dublin's north inner city recorded one of the worst results ever.

IBAL says absentee landlords, who cannot be held to account for litter on their sites, and State-owned property holders, who are not fulfilling their obligations under the Litter Pollution Acts, contributed to the area's poor result.