THE OWNER of a County Limerick scrapyard has spent over €40,000 in improvements to secure a waste facility permit, heard Kilmallock Court.
Glynn O’Neill, of Kilbane, Castletroy, but who owns the business in Castleconnell, was prosecuted by Limerick city and County Council for a waste management offence in 2012. He pleaded guilty.
Gerry Doherty, senior executive engineer, said the yard for scrapping cars or “end of life vehicle facility” is located on the old N7.
Answering questions from the council’s solicitor, Will Leahy, Mr Doherty said he visited the site on May 14, 2012.
“There were approximately 170 vehicles, a large number of engines, scrap parts, gearboxes and axles. He had no permit or authorisation,” said Mr Doherty.
He said that a waste facility permit cannot be issued without planning permission.
Mr Doherty said due to the works Mr O’Neill has carried out a permit is about to be issued.
These include additional concrete areas and petrol interceptors to ensure fluids don’t get into the ground to protect the environment.
Mr Doherty estimated the value of scrap when he visited in May 2012 at between €20,000 to €30,000.
Mr O’Neill’s solicitor, Brendan Gill, said it is something of a historic case.
Mr Doherty said there was a previous notice in 2009 to remove the scrap. Mr Gill said the business was located there for a long number of years.
“I believe his father had a similar business,” said Mr Doherty, who agreed with Mr Gill that Mr O’Neill has spent over €40,000 on improvements.
Mr O’Neill took the stand and said his father bought the place in the early 90s.
Now the current owner, Mr O’Neill said somebody has been operating there since 1981.
“My argument was that I should be planning exempt,” said Mr O’Neiil.
He said he has spent €41,000 - including over €10,000 on surveys; €9,000 on council applications; €10,000 on engineers and other works.
Asked by Mr Gill what his financial position is, he said “bad”.
“I’ve been closed down for the last two and a half years. I haven’t paid my mortgage in a year and a half. Hopefully I’ll get going again now,” said Mr O’Neill.
Mr Leahy said there was a long history between the council and Mr O’Neill.
He asked the defendant if he was before Judge Tom O’Donnell in 2009 on similar matters and Mr O’Neill said yes.
“The council have had to fight tooth and nail,” said Mr Leahy.
Judge Mary Larkin said the regulations are there and “unfortunately it is not like the good old days when you could just start up”.
“They are complicated and expensive but that’s the way of the world,” said Judge Larkin.
Mr Leahy said the council’s costs stood at €2,226.39. Regarding sentencing, Mr Gill said to Judge Larkin that a formal conviction could affect his client getting future permits.
Mr Leahy said Judge O’Donnell gave Mr O’Neill a chance in 2009 when he didn’t convict him and a conviction would not affect him getting the current permit.
Judge Larkin put the case back for sentencing to the end of the year saying to Mr O’Neill, “I want the costs paid by December 16”.