Landfill on rural site ‘has ruined community’

TEARS were shed yesterday as members of a small community told how a landfill site has devastated their lives.

Limerick County Council now wants to quadruple the landfill in size. An elderly man broke down as he addressed a Bord Pleanála hearing in Limerick into the proposal.

The council wants to develop a super dump covering 98 acres alongside the existing 25-acre landfill at Gortadroma in West Limerick.

Space at the landfill, which opened in 1990, will run out next year and the council say they want the extension to increase the life span of the dump by up to 20 years. Local people,

Gortadroma Action Group, Kilcoleman National School and White Rivers Anglers Association are objecting to the proposed new super dump.

Connie Kennelly told the hearing she lives 250 metres from the landfill.

The proposed extension would bring the dump to within 150 metres of her front door.

Ms Kennelly told An Bord Pleanála inspector, Mr Danny O’Connor, that her house is continually invaded by gas smells and flies.

“I cannot physically or mentally live with this any longer,” she said.

Raymond Brouder, aged 71, broke down in tears as he told the hearing that the local authority had no regard for the community.

Mr Brouder, who brought up his seven children in Gortadroma, worked for the county council for 30 years.

Locals in Gortadroma say that families are moving away and houses are being boarded up as they cannot be sold and new residents are refusing to come in.

One woman told the hearing that her grown up children are refusing to return to live there although she has three sites for houses to give them.

Patsy Hayes, who lives 400 metres from the dump, said he recently put in new windows and doors to keep out the smell.

Earlier, Mr Tarpey was cross examined by Oisín Collins, for the residents, about a recent fish kill in the White River which flows through Gortadroma.

Thousands of fish died in the White River last May.

Mr Tarpey said investigations into the kill by the council and the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board could not conclusively find the cause of the fish kill.

He conceded the council accepted that maintenance work at the landfill was a likely contributory cause.

Mr Collins asked: “Do you accept the cause of the fish kill was effectively the dump?” Mr Tarpey replied: “That has not been proven.”

Pointing out that an Environmental Protection Agency report, following the fish kill, had found the council were not in compliance with its waste management licence, Mr Collins asked if the landfill was an environmentally safe site.

Mr Tarpey said it was their objective to operate the site within the terms of the EPA waste licence.

Mr Tarpey said there were occasional problems associated with the site. Some complaints were found to be valid. The biggest complaint related to odour and they had a constant programme of upgrading the site.

The three-day hearing concluded yesterday.

An Bord Pleanála inspector Danny O’Connor will make a report to the board which is likely to include a recommendation to approve or reject the county council’s plan.

But it is believed An Bord Pleanála will not consider this report until the new year.

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