Official vows to probe illegal dump claims

THE Cork county manager has said he will personally investigate claims that an illegal waste dump in North Cork is still operating, more than a year after the European Court ordered its closure.

Mr Moloney described allegations made by a number of councillors as “dramatic” and said he would carry out a thorough investigation.

Standing orders were suspended at a meeting in County Hall when Cllr Liam O’Doherty (FG) claimed that work was still going on at the site at Ballard, Araglin.

He claimed that tankers were still going into the site, that residue from illegal waste lagoons was being spread on land and that proper testing of the contents of the lagoons hadn’t been carried out.

“We all know what’s on top of the lagoons, its water. We want to know what’s underneath,” Mr O’Doherty said.

He added that the sludge residue should be “stirred” so “split” samples could be obtained.

“There’s ducks living on top of it, but Christ knows what’s below,” he added.

When operations started at the site 15 years ago waste was accepted from Guinness, plants in Little Island, as well as dairy bi-products.

Cllr Sean Sherlock (Lab) asked why a year after the European Court had ordered the lagoons to be filled in, that this hadn’t happened and he wanted to know under the circumstances why an application from another company for a €75 million anaerobic digester on the site was even being considered.

Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) said the people of Araglin had suffered from the illegal site for 15 years and it was time that suffering finished.

On hearing claims that tankers were still entering the site, Cllr Aileen Pyne (FG) pointed out that the Department of the Environment had issued a recent statement to the Irish Examiner saying all activity there had ceased last October. She added that locals had been keeping watch on the site and weren’t aware of any clean-up.

Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe added that he wanted the whole situation clarified as soon as possible.

Mr Moloney said he would be seeking as much information from councillors as he could so he could check the allegations thoroughly with his staff.

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