THE operator of a Kerry waste recycling facility, which does not have planning permission, was yesterday given 15 months to halt all work at the site.
Kerry County Council had sought an order at the Circuit Court, in Killarney, compelling Eoghan McEnery, to cease all operations at Cahooeragh, Moyvane, within six months.
However, after being told Mr McEnery needed more time to find an alternative location, Judge Carroll Moran allowed 15 months.
The court was told he had twice been refused planning permission by both the council and An Bord Pleanála and actually expanded his operations after the council had started enforcement proceedings.
Mr McEnery’s company, South West Bins, has 10,000 domestic and commercial customers in north Kerry and west Limerick and employs 34 people.
Barrister Elizabeth Murphy, for the council, said there were two main reasons for refusing planning — the creation of traffic hazards on a poor road network and visual intrusiveness.
She said the situation had been going on since 2004 and an enforcement notice had been served in 2005. Planning permission had never been obtained.
Barrister Henry Downing, for Mr McEnery, accepted there was no planning, adding that his client may have acted “foolishly” in that regard.
There were two components to the company’s activities — the collection of bins and the operation of a dry recycling facility where waste was sorted, packed and sent out again.
Mr Downing said in one appeal to An Bord Pleanála an inspector had recommended that planning be granted, under strict conditions, but the planners still refused.
The barrister said the operation could not just be closed and sufficient time was needed to find a new location, as well storage space for trucks and other equipment.
“Everyone says recycling is good, but if someone sets up a business everyone says not here,” he added.
In evidence, Mr McEnery said he was looking at two potential sites, one in a zoned industrial area, the other in a rural area.
He said he was providing a service not only to the public but also the county councils in Kerry and Limerick by preventing 4,500 tonnes of waste from going to landfill.
Mr McEnery said road problems were “easily correctable” and he was prepared to contribute to the cost of that.
In allowing a further 15 months to find a location, Mr Justice Moran said he was taking into consideration the time the planning process takes to go through.
Listowel solicitor Helen Lucey told the court she was acting for residents living close to the Moyvane facility.