North Tipperary county councillors are to meet the council’s environment officials over a controversial waste composting site in Coolross, Rathcabbin.
The Shannon Vermicoposting site closed in 2005 after the council was granted an injunction against it. This injunction was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2009 and former company director Peter Og was given eight weeks to remove waste from the site.
However, Cllr Jim Casey told an area meeting of Nenagh / Borrisokane councillors that the situation was “more dangerous now than before” and warranted more than the council just carrying out a report into the operation.
“At this stage, what is needed is that we put a price on clearing this site and remove all the material,” he said. “That includes what is underground. Then we should look to the Department of the Environment for funding. We don’t know what was brought in.”
He was backed by local councillor Michael O’Meara, who said the site was an “awful mess”.
Cllr O’Meara said a lot of waste providers to the facility had exceeded the tonnage allowed and did so “without scruples”.
He asked council officials if the council could go after such providers.
He warned that taking out the waste would be a “huge inconvenience” to locals, who had suffered when it was being brought in.
“We can’t stay ignoring it,” said Mayor Ger Darcy. “I imagine some of the runoff is making its way into local rivers.”
Area chair Cllr Seamus Morris warned the site was going to have to be cleared as the report into the operation was not going to tell them to cover it up.
He questioned why the report was with the council’s environment section for two months but the councillors had not seen sight of it.
“I am not prepared to wait another two months,” he said.
Cllr Morris agreed with a call by Cllr Virginia O’Dowd to meet all the agencies involved at a special meeting on the issue, but said they should first talk to the council’s environment staff.
Cllr O’Meara said the OPW and the National Parks and Wildlife Service should be involved in any discussions on the matter and said: “It must be chasing down into Redwood bog and Coolross. The authorities are prepared to turn a blind eye to it but will put pressure on the little man cutting turf.”
Area manager Marcus O’Connor said that, “by and large, containment is satisfactory”, but it will be a bigger issue in the long term.
He warned there will be “significant costs” if the waste is to be removed elsewhere and would convey the urgency of the situation for a report from the council’s staff.
His assurances were brushed aside by Cllr Casey, who stated: “I still wouldn’t be happy if you gave me assurance on what’s over ground because trucks came in there at night and what they brought in was concreted over the next day. What were they hiding? I am not happy that someone has said they are happy with containment.”