A waste disposal company and its director, Louis Moriarty, have been fined a total of €60,000 at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today for illegal dumping in Co Wicklow.
Judge Tony Hunt said it was ironic that hotelier Moriarty (aged 68) was now trading on Ireland’s image as a green and beautiful country in his current business in contrast to his illegal dumping activities nine years ago.
Swalcliffe Ltd, trading as Dublin Waste, of East Wall Industrial Complex, Dublin 3, pleaded guilty, through solicitor Mr Vincent Shannon, to holding or disposing of waste in a manner that caused or was likely to cause environmental pollution on dates in 2001 at lands owned by Clifford Fenton at Coolnamadra, Donard.
Company director Moriarty, of Griffith Avenue, Drumcondra, pleaded guilty to disposing of waste in manner that could cause pollution at the Coolnamadra site and at Whitestown, Baltinglass over three months in 2001.
Moriarty had made a saving of between €1,000 and €2,250 per lorryload by dumping the waste illegally.
Judge Hunt noted that although Moriarty was only responsible for 14 lorry loads or 350 tonnes of waste from the total of 8,000 tonnes ultimately recovered from Coolnamadra, he had paid more than €1.3m for remediation of the entire site and all waste. There was some hospital waste dumped by Swalcliffe at this site but it was largely non-hazardous.
He said that compared to any commercial benefit gained the cost of the remediation “was a punishment in itself.”
Judge Hunt noted that Mr Patrick Gageby SC, defence counsel for Moriarty and Swalcliffe, had indicated that Moriarty was also willing to pay for remediation work at Whitestown but this has been held up due to civil proceedings. Mr Gageby said a sum in excess of €1m could be made available for the work.
An estimated 8,000 tonnes of waste in 314 lorry loads was deposited at Whitestown by Moriarty’s company including mixture of demolition waste and household waste.
There are an estimated 90,000 tonnes of waste at Whitestown in two landfills for which prosecutions have been brought against a number of people.
Mr Donal O’Laoire, environmental consultant, gave evidence that remediation of the entire site at Whitestown would cost approximately €3.8m.
Judge Hunt said the risk to the environment had been eliminated at Coolnamadra and he could not see significant actual damage at Whitestown but understood there was the potential for pollution as long as the waste remained.
Detective Garda Declan O'Brien told Mr Paul Murray BL, prosecuting, that the gardaí became involved in the case in February 2002 when they received a complaint from Wicklow County Council after a council worker observed a lorry entering the site at Coolnamadra and investigations were carried out in the area.
Moriarty was interviewed by gardaí on a number of occasions and admitted dumping waste from his sorting premises on East Wall at the two sites in Wicklow after the landowners had agreed to accept waste.
Swalcliff has two previous convictions and Moriarty one previous conviction in relation to similar activities
Mr Gageby said the remediation of Coolnamadra was an example of “the polluter pays” and submitted that Moriarty had been “stymied” in his efforts to do similar work at Whitestown by the ongoing civil case.
A number of other people have been sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in relation to illegal dumping activities at Whitestown and Coolnamadra sites.
Adrian Munnelly (aged 29) a truck driver of Main Street, Ballynacargy, County Westmeath, pleaded guilty to disposing of waste at the Coolnamadra site only and was sentenced by Judge Katherine Delahunt last November.
Munnelly did a number of waste runs as an independent contractor to the site in 2001 and was fined €5,000.
Anthony Dean (aged 56), owner of Dean Waste trading as A1 Waste, was fined €10,000 in May 2009 after he pleaded guilty to undertaking the recovery of lorry loads of waste at the landfill number four section of the 47 acre site of John O'Reilly's land at Whitestown, Baltinglass without having been so authorised by licence between January 1st and May 1st, 1998.
John O’Reilly (aged 64), now of Robertstown, Naas, who then owned the Whitestown site was fined €150,000 in July 2006 at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for allowing his land to be used as an illegal waste dump in 2001.
Neville Watson (aged 41), of Kilmurray, Trim, Co Meath who was working for Moriarty drawing waste at the time, was jailed for six months at the same time.
He had pleaded guilty to not having a licence under the Waste Management Act for use of the site for dumping waste on dates between November and December 2001.
Clifford Fenton, landowner at Coolnamadra, was fined €70,000 in December 2008 at Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court for allowing up to 8,000 tons of illegal waste to be dumped on his land in 2001.