Cork City faces a potential €250,000 bill for the clean-up of a notorious illegal dump site — again.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now been asked to investigate activity on the Ellis’s Yard site on the northside of Cork City amid fears it poses a serious environmental and public health risk.
Fianna Fáil councillor Ken O’Flynn lodged a formal complaint with the State’s environment watchdog yesterday after firefighters were called to deal with several rubbish fires on the site across the weekend.
It took two units of Cork City Fire Brigade almost three hours, using thousands of litres of water and hundreds of gallons of special foam, to bring a massive rubbish fire under control on Friday. Plumes of thick, acrid smoke forced nearby residents to close windows and stay indoors.
Fire crews from the county were drafted into the city to provide backup while that blaze was being dealt with.
Firefighters had to respond to several smaller fires on the site again on Saturday night and on Sunday.
The site, a former foundry, adjoins the Spring Lane Traveller halting site, which is home to more than 100 people.
It is overlooked by several housing estates.
It was earmarked for an expansion of the halting site several years ago but that plan was shot down.
Dumping activity has been ongoing but the frequency of fires on the site has risen in recent weeks.
The council spent more than €570,000 on three large-scale clean-ups of the site between 2003 and 2014.
A spokesperson for the council’s environment directorate said despite repeated clean-ups and several attempts at enhancing security, they have been unable to “break the cycle of illegal dumping” at the site.
The Traveller Visibility Group accepted that while some of the rubbish comes from the halting site, it said rubbish is coming from outside sources too.
Ellis’s Yard is used as a dumping ground for the local area. This is a much broader problem,” a spokesperson for the group said.
She said halting site residents have tried to block certain access points in a bid to tackle the problem. However, she said developing housing on the site would eliminate the problem.