The latest survey by Irish Business Against Litter has shown that Dublin city and Cork city are clean to European norms for the first time.

However, IBAL has warned of neglected pockets in Ireland's cities that are still litter blackspots.

The survey of 42 towns and cities showed three-quarters of areas to be as clean or cleaner than European norms.

Cavan was Ireland's cleanest town, ahead of last year's winner Kilkenny. Monaghan, Ennis and Mullingar were branded littered.

IBAL has warned that towns are suffering from the growing number of vacant properties, typically shops, which serve as magnets for litter and graffiti.

The group's chairman has called on local authorities to appoint a member of staff to oversee improvements to dilapidated and decayed urban areas.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Tom Cavanagh said the west end of Galway city had improved considerably after local businesses painted murals and cleaned up dishevelled looking premises.

"They're not works of art, but they're colourful," he said.

Mr Cavanagh said responsibility for coming up with ideas to improve such areas could be assigned to existing council staff thereby making it a cost-neutral move.