A new survey on litter has found that 80% of Irish towns and cities are as clean, or cleaner, than their European counterparts.

The towns of Tullamore, Leixlip and Roscommon came out top of the Irish Business Against Litter Survey while it showed that the environs of Dublin Airport had improved since being deemed a black spot.

Over 90% of rural towns surveyed were deemed clean, while Dublin, Cork and Galway city centres all scored well in the rankings.

An Taisce assessed litter levels in 40 towns and cities on behalf of IBAL, with 80% of areas found to be clean, and with a top tier of 16 towns deemed to be "cleaner than European norms".

While no area was deemed to be a litter blackspot, Galvone in Limerick City was adjudged to be "seriously littered", while Dublin North Inner City and Cork City North were "littered".

Over 85% of 32 tourist sites surveyed were clean, among them the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, Muckross House in Killarney, the Guinness Storehouse and Newgrange, with the remainder exhibiting small amounts of litter.

Heritage amenities, shopping centres and main streets were found to be particularly clean, while train stations, bus stations and recycle facilities were most likely to be littered, with the exterior of both Cavan and Waterford bus stations "heavily littered".

Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten welcomed the survey but expressed concern that there are still litter issues in Limerick city, Dublin's North Inner City and Cork City North.

Mr Naughten said he was pleased to see that the respective councils had evidently taken steps to improve these areas, but again urged them to increase their efforts.