No conviction for Limerick waste company despite EPA licence breach

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

No conviction for Limerick waste company despite EPA licence breach

Limerick court heard that the bales of waste stored by Greenstar were "leaking and smelly"

A WASTE management company has avoided a criminal conviction despite breaching the terms of its EPA licence.

Starrus Eco Holdings Limited, which trades as Greenstar, was prosecuted over an offence which was detected at a facility it operates in Limerick.

Limerick District Court was told the company processes and bales waste at the Dock Road facility before exporting it for incineration.

Solicitor Jason Teahan, representing the EPA, said the prosecution was initiated following a site inspection on June 25, 2018.

An EPA inspector said around 3,000 bales of waste, each weighing around one tonne, were being stored in a yard and that more than 100 were “badly damaged”.

He said he observed ‘leakage’ of unprocessed waste from some of the bales and that others were “particularly odorous”.

The inspector added there was evidence of “some sort of scavenging” and that rodents and birds had been picking at the bales.

He said a specific condition of the company’s licence is that all waste is “fully enclosed” and that there are no leaks or smells emanating from the bales which are being stored.

Damien Keaney BL said the defendant company, which employs more than 2,000 people across the country, takes its obligations very seriously and has hired a number of additional personnel since - including a health and safety officer.

He said the concerns were addressed quickly and that his client had paid the costs of the EPA, which totalled €14,440 and that there have been no further incidents since.

There are now daily inspections of the bales and procedures are in place to repair or reprocess damaged bales as soon as they are identified.

Urging the court not to record a criminal conviction, Mr Keaney said any conviction would have a “significant impact on its ability to tender” for contracts in both the public and private sector.

Judge Marie Keane noted the facility at the centre of the prosecution is close to a number of housing estates and is adjacent to the river Shannon.

She said the company proves a “very valuable service” and has significant obligations to its customers and employees.

The judge noted the inspection which led to the prosecution took place on one of the hottest days of last summer and she said it is essential the company is aware of the prevailing weather conditions.

She applied the Probation Act after being informed €1,000 had been donated by the company to Catherine McCauley School and €500 to Barnados.