County Limerick landowner fined €100 for failing to remove 30,000 tonnes of waste

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

LIMERICK County Council says it is examining “all of its options” after a father-of-four was fined just €100 for failing to remove more than 30,000 tonnes of rubble which was illegally dumped on land he owns near Castleconnell.

LIMERICK County Council says it is examining “all of its options” after a father-of-four was fined just €100 for failing to remove more than 30,000 tonnes of rubble which was illegally dumped on land he owns near Castleconnell.

LIMERICK County Council says it is examining “all of its options” after a father-of-four was fined just €100 for failing to remove more than 30,000 tonnes of rubble which was illegally dumped on land he owns near Castleconnell.

Kenneth Moore, 40, from Portcrusha, Montpelier was prosecuted by the local authority after he failed to comply with an enforcement order which required him to remove the rubble, which was dumped on the site over a number of years.

Limerick District Court was told the case has been “ongoing for several years” and that Limerick County Council is “very anxious” to have the rubble removed as it is located in a flood plain, which was badly flooded during the winter of 2009.

Barry Murphy, executive engineer with Limerick County Council, said a number of inspections were conducted on the lands after complaints were received and he told the court the waste includes construction and demolition rubble as well as glass and shredded timber.

It is understood the cost of removing the rubble, some of which is buried, could amount to as much as €1million.

Solicitor Eamon Dillon, representing Kenneth Moore, said it was a “very tragic case” and he said his client could not afford to have the rubble removed .

Mr Dillon said his client applied for planning permission at the site a number of years ago but that he was refused permission because the land was low-lying.

“He thought if he raised the level of the land he would get planning permission,” he said adding that the the 10 acres were now “completely unusable” because of the flooding 18 months ago.

Judge Eamon O’Brien said the offence was “disgraceful and appalling” but noting the circumstances of the defendant he imposed a fine of €100.

Mr Moore was ordered to make a contribution of €500 towards the costs of Limerick County Council, which totalled €3,467.72.

When solicitor Will Leahy, representing the local authority, challenged the judge’s decision not to award full costs the judge replied: “He has no money, he cannot afford the cost, he hasn’t the means of paying the costs.”

Mr Leahy pointed out that the council would be at a “considerable loss” as a result and that it may have to “review its attitude” in relation to future cases if adjournments are sought by defendants.

The judge insisted there was European Law supporting his decision and he said “What’s the point in making an order if there is no realistic chance of it being carried out.”

Speaking following the conclusion of the proceedings, Gerry Behan, deputy county manager told the Limerick Leader the council was looking at all its options.

“At the end of the day we want it cleared up and we have to look at the best way of doing that and we are examining all of the options following conclusion of the proceedings.”