Louth Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster has expressed her dismay at Irish Water’s total disregard for the environment following the successful prosecution of the company by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Irish Water were prosecuted for failing to ensure sewage waste from a water treatment plant at Tinure did not cause pollution.
The fine imposed was to the value of €2,000 but Irish Water were given the option to donate this money to charity in order to avoid a criminal conviction.
Deputy Munster said she was “disillusioned as to why Irish Water appears to get away with causing pollution on a regular basis”.
“This isn’t the first instance of pollution by Irish Water. In the past eighteen months there have been two other incidents similar to this in Monaghan and Cavan, which saw Irish Water fined. These are only the incidents that we are aware of. It’s also worth noting that the company has only been fined €3,500 combined, despite the fact that each case could carry a maximum fine of €5,000.”
“There have also been calls on many occasions to investigate other areas, such as claimed sewage discharge in Doldrum Bay, Howth. Although the prosecutions have been welcomed, the EPA must go further in ensuring our waters remain pollution free. Repeat offenders must be actively discouraged from polluting and I feel that a combined fine of €3,500 does not have that effect on a company which is willing to spend another €88 million on meters which have the potential to become obsolete.”
“I will be raising the issue with the minister via parliamentary questions. I want to know what measures, if any, have been put in place to prevent incidents like these occurring in the future; how stringent these measures are; and have there been other allegations of pollution, and if so, have they been followed up?”
Deputy Munster pointed out that “if pollution was being carried out by a local farmer or business, the courts would be quick to deter them from committing such crimes again. It is baffling how Irish Water is continually punished with a slight slap on the wrist.”