Polluting businessman pays

A Roscommon businessman who failed to report a substantial diesel spill on his property left the District Court nearly €2,500 poorer on Tuesday last (October 14 ).

Patrick Hyland of Crannaghmore, Summerhill, Co. Roscommon was before Judge David Anderson on foot of two summons from Roscommon County Council under the Pollution Act.

The court heard how the pollution had been reported to the Council by an official of the Shannon Fisheries Board after he made the discovery in a small Shannon tributary, about a mile outside Athlone just off the Bunaribba Road.

He noted that, in some places, it was so bad the drainside vegetation had been burnt by the contact with the pollutant.

The pollutant was traced back to the defendant’s yard and identified as diesel.

An engineer’s report was completed on the incident last month and handed to the court.

It highlighted the potential danger to the local ecosystem in that the spillage was only two and a half kilometres from the Shannon and the drainage from the spill was towards the river.

The clean-up instigated by the Council was estimated to cost €2,230.

In his defence, Hyland’s solicitor told the court that while his client was away for a weekend last May from his premises there had been an attempted break-in where somebody had tried to steal diesel from his yard and spilt a quantity of it.

“He didn’t find it til the next morning,” said the solicitor.

Hyland pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to report the spillage (Section 14 ) and had a second charge of causing the pollution (Section 3 ) withdrawn.

His solicitor assured the court Hyland was co-operating fully with the authorities on this issue and was willing to foot the clean-up bill.

Judge Anderson fined Hyland an additional €250, half of the maximum fine available to him, when he heard the costs were being covered.

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