‘Come clean’ call over toxic dump clean-up costs

THE Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have called on the Government to disclose the “full facts and costs” of the Haulbowline toxic dump clean-up contract.

The call follows the settlement this week of a legal action between contractors over alleged breaches of agreements to clear contaminated materials from the former Irish Steel plant site in Cork harbour.

“The Government must tell taxpayers what were the consequences of terminating the contract with the principal contractor,” an FIE spokesman said.

With legal actions out of the way, he said the Government was now free to answer the question as to “why it failed to use the Dispute Resolution Process required by that contract and what, if any, are the costs of this breach of contract”.

The spokesman said: “As the Minister (John Gormley) has admitted that daily fines are now a possibility over the failure to regularise the toxic waste site at Haulbowline Island, members of the public have a right to know what the minister means when he states that ‘the European Commission contends that there are continuing problems of compliance’ at Haulbowline.”

The legal action over alleged breaches of agreements to clear contaminated materials from the former Irish Steel plant site was settled on undisclosed terms against two companies at the Commercial Court on Wednesday, while judgement for almost €600,000 was entered against another defendant company.

Louis J O’Regan Ltd had brought proceedings last year seeking €114 million damages against three firms over alleged breaches of agreements and contracts related to the clean-up.

The company’s case was against CTO Greenclean Environmental Solutions Ltd, Sarsfield Road, Wilton, Cork, along with cases against Hammond Lane Metal Company Ltd, Pigeon House Road, Dublin and Eastwood Ltd, Herbert Street, Dublin. The latter two were resolved.

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan had been told by Paul Burns SC, for the plaintiff, that the cases against Hammond Lane and Eastwood Ltd could be struck out against those parties. Counsel, however, sought a judgment order against CTO under various provisions of a sub-contract between the companies.

CTO was not represented at the hearing.

Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan said she was satisfied to enter judgment for €596,802 against that defendant, that includes the plaintiff’s €115,000 share of monies paid to CTO by the state related to the clean-up.

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