A farmer and horse breeder who allowed harmful matter to flow into a tributary of the River Moy was convicted at Ballina District Court this week.
David Harrington, a fisheries environment officer, received a call from Mayo County Council on August 14 2009 regarding ongoing pollution into a section of the River Moy. Mr Harrington arrived at the scene at 2pm and noted that a discoloured substance with white foam had entered the tributary from a pipe at the bank of the river. This pipe led to the farmyard of Patrick Sweeney, Knockleghaugh, Ballina.
A letter was sent to the defendant to remove the pipe. A month later the location was checked and there was no further discharge, however the pipe was still present.
The court heard that Sweeney used the pipe to drain surface water from the yard, however pollutants from the slated shed where materials to spread over the land was kept, managed to get into the pipe. This material contained nitrates, ammonia, and phosphates which would have potentially caused a fish kill.
The married, 39-year-old, father of four was convicted and fined €250 by Judge Mary Devins and ordered to pay €500 costs and €300 expenses.