THE dumping of asbestos sheeting at Glin Pier has been described as “mindless blackguardism” by local councillor John Sheahan.
And he was angry that anyone would do such a thing given the risks associated with asbestos. “We all know what asbestos can do,” he said. “The worst thing you can do to asbestos is disturb it.”
He was also angry that the dumping took place at a local beauty spot frequented by lots of local walkers and where the Glin Development Association and Limerick City and County Council had carried out a lot of improvements. “A lot of public money was spent here,” he said. “It was mindless blackguardism and thuggery to dump there.”
Approximately one tonne of corrugated asbestos sheeting was dumped behind the pier wall, close to the Knockaranna walking path over Hallowe’en. The asbestos was dumped in the middle of the night and was spotted the following morning by a resident on his morning walk with his dog.
He then contacted the chairman of Glin Development Association John Anthony Culhane who immediately alerted the council.
“Fair play to them. They were very fast and efficient,” Mr Culhane said this week.
Within hours, the asbestos had been covered over and the area cordoned off. Last Friday, men dressed in special protective clothing and with face masks arrived to remove the material. The asbestos was wrapped and taped and brought under licence to a depot up the country from where it will eventually be exported to a special site in Europe.
Unfortunately, Mr Culhane said, nobody knows who did it.
A spokeswoman for Limerick City and County Council said the council was investigating the matter.
“No public health issues have arisen due to the prompt securing of the asbestos and the prevailing weather conditions,” she said. However, she added, the council was anxious to hear from anyone who might have information about the incident. Anybody who does can contact the council or any councillor in confidence or anonymously.
Illegal dumping of asbestos carries a penalty, on conviction, of a fine of up to €4000 and/or a prison sentence of six months.
The cost of the disposal operation has not been revealed but is likely to run into thousands of euro, given the legal obligation to bring in specialist disposal experts.