This fromn Sean O'Riord Irish Examiner:
COUNCIL officials, aided by gardaí, have closed off a suspected illegal dump in Cork, which could contain tens of thousands of tonnes of waste.
On foot of a warrant, Cork County Council environmental officers and a number of gardaí went into the site at Sarsfield’s Court, Glanmire, yesterday.
A council spokeswoman said the site covered a number of acres and while it mainly contained construction material, an initial inspection had also uncovered household waste.
However, she said investigations were at an early stage and attempts to discover what was in the sub-soil were being hampered because much of the waste was lying on a steep slope and officials were concerned it may subside into the valley below.
The slope descends towards the River Glashaboy and it is feared that the waste could cause a water pollution problem, although council officials regularly monitor drinking water in the area and are confident it hasn’t been contaminated.
It is expected that it may take several days, if not weeks, before they can ascertain the full extent of what is buried on the site.
The council said it obtained a warrant against Greenwood Skip Hire on January 24 last and had sent the company, operated by David Greenwood, several notices to desist, which were ignored.
Local residents had made a number of complaints about the site and it’s understood the council’s enforcement section had been monitoring the area for several days.
“Another notice was presented to him (Mr Greenwood) in front of the gardaí yesterday for him to cease trading and not to continue to bury anything on the site. He has no permit to collect waste or to operate the site,” the council spokeswoman said.
Mr Greenwood maintained he’d done nothing wrong and was just importing topsoil onto the site. He also said that no burning of waste had taken place on
the land, despite accusations to the contrary from the council and local residents.
“I have nothing to hide,” Mr Greenwood added.
The council said it would vigorously pursue Greenwood Skip Hire in the courts under section 14 of the Waste Management Act (1996) which, on conviction, could lead to a fine of up to €15 million and/or 10 years in jail. The council said it hadn’t yet ascertained who owns the land.
“The last person mentioned on the land registry is deceased, so at present we can only initiate proceedings against the operator,” the spokeswoman said.
Councillor John Gilroy, who lives close to the site, said he was “appalled” by what he saw.
“There must be tens of thousands of tonnes of waste there. Our main concern at present must be the protection of the River Glashaboy. I commend the council for taking this action,” he said.