A PROMINENT firm which flouted the ban on the sale of smoky coal in the city will avoid a conviction if it reaches agreement with Limerick City Council on providing €1,000 worth of materials for flood relief.
James McMahon Ltd was prosecuted under the Air Pollution Act after council official Paul O’Grady found bags of restricted bituminous coal “openly on sale” when he inspected the business on the Dock Road on October 18 last.
Mr O’Grady told Limerick District Court that he had also found leaflets advertising the type of fuel covered by the regulations.
The company, Mr O’Grady said, had been issued correspondence by the council and he told Judge Eugene O’Kelly that he had personally warned them on December 14, 2012, that the council would take enforcement action if he found such fuel for sale on the premises again.
Solicitor for James McMahon Ltd, Sara Ryan, said her client was pleading guilty to the offence. But she told Judge O’Kelly that the current manager, Michael Bedford, had only been appointed in February 2013 and had not been advised on the regulations.
Judge O’Kelly remarked that “if the company had been warned on a number of occasions that they can’t sell a certain type of coal, it is incumbent on them to advise staff of same”.
He wondered why no directors were present in court and why Mr Bedford, who was “neither accused of nor responsible for this” had instead been sent.
Mr Bedford assured Judge O’Kelly that the coal had been “immediately removed” following the inspection last October and was currently in a warehouse in Derry.
Noting that the firm had no prior convictions, he asked Ms Ryan whether her client was “prepared to do something in the continuing inclement weather” for needy people in Limerick affected by recent flooding.
Adjourning the matter for four weeks, he asked the company to liaise with Limerick City Council on providing the local authority with “materials for flood relief to the value of €1,000”.