Judge’s threat to visit waste site ‘aided clean-up more than 6 years in court’

The threat by a judge to visit a former waste transfer station had done more to have the site cleaned up than six years of court actions by the council and residents during which the defendant had “dragged his feet”.

Judge Carroll Moran left the Circuit Civil Court in Listowel yesterday to visit the site of the South West Bins Ltd transfer station in rural farmland 7km from Listowel. Judge Moran inspected the site and large sheds which had been used as collection units for waste.

The application by Kerry County Council was to jail Eoghan McEnery in his personal capacity, but also as director of South West Bins. South West had a number of legal transfer sites, but the dry recyclable operation at Kimorna, Listowel was not legal and should have been removed in Jul 2007.

Katie O’Connell, for local residents, said the sheds were “monstrous buildings”. “They [residents] have been in an out of court with five and a half years listening to empty promises,” she said.

Mr McEnery had sold his company recently and had benefited hugely, she said. She objected to the proposal to allow a planning application submitted recently to run its course.

Liz Murphy, for the council, said more work was carried out on the site in recent weeks than in the past six years since the order to remove the material, some of the sheds and equipment of Jul 2007.

She accepted the business had been stopped. However two “dumps” of rubble and topsoil remained a concern.

Counsel for Mr McEnery, Tom Rice said the intention was to comply fully with the court order. His client was now intent on farming the 60-acre site full-time and had submitted applications to retain three large sheds.

Mr Rice handed photo- graphs into court which showed mounds of material outside the sheds. This “enormous quantity” of tyres and dry recyclables had been removed, the defence counsel argued.

It would cost hundreds of thousands to remove the topsoil and other material which could be screened and used as roadways for the farm, Mr Rice said.

Judge Moran ordered that all material be removed over the next six weeks. The motion to jail Mr McEnery was adjourned until Jan 21.


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