Uisce Éireann confirms no pollution of Dundalk water – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has revealed that a letter from Uisce Éireann has confirmed that “daily testing has not identified any risk to the public water supplies to Dundalk.”

Teachta Adams said:

“A recent Sunday Independent story sparked unfounded fears in the south Armagh and north Louth areas of serious pollution from a fuel laundering plant.

Residents of the Dundalk area will be reassured by the confirmation from Uisce Éireann that there is no risk to their drinking water.

The behaviour of some politicians, who deliberately heightened fears and ran scare stories of water having been poisoned, and who for purely electoral purposes sought to blame republicans and Sinn Féin, now stands exposed as irresponsible.

Of course, none of this takes away from the fact that there are criminal elements who are exploiting the differential between agricultural and non-agricultural diesel to make money and are prepared to recklessly pollute our environment through the dumping of diesel sludge.

Every effort must be made to ensure that they are arrested and are brought before the courts.

I have submitted a detailed range of questions to the Minister for the Environment on this issue and have specifically asked if the government is planning to introduce legislation to end the differential in diesel thus removing the ability of the criminal gangs to make money.”

The Louth TD added:

“I welcome Uisce Éireann’s diligence in deciding to carry out additional tests and to introduce other measures to protect our water system.

However none of this can detract from the fact that baseless claims were made in the media about the water system being poisoned and the genuine fears of citizens were cynically exploited by some politicians whose only interest was in attacking Sinn Féin.”

Letter From Irish Water

Letter From Irish Water

 

Adams – Effective Action Needed To End Fuel Laundering

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has condemned the criminal gangs involved in the fuel laundering scam and has said that “the only effective means of closing down this illegal activity is to end the differential between agricultural and non-agricultural diesel. The government needs to introduce in its place a system where farmers can reclaim a rebate on their fuel costs based on vouched expenditure”.

Teachta Adams has accused the gangs involved in diesel laundering of “causing serious environmental and health problems, putting at risk legitimate business and jobs, as well as imposing significant financial costs on local councils and the tax payer”.

The Louth TD was commenting after he received written responses from the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan and from the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to a series of Dáil Questions he submitted on this issue.

Mr. Adams said: “The responses from Minister Hogan and Noonan make bleak reading and confirm the adverse impact fuel laundering is having, especially in border counties.

· 900 incidents of diesel laundering and waste dumping

· 490 in Louth

· 406 in Monaghan

· €4,959,005 spent since 2008 on the clean-up of fuel laundering sites

· €4,093,979 of this spent in Louth

· 33 oil laundry plants detected and closed since 2010

· 10 oil laundry plants detected and closed in Louth in this period.

· 87 filling stations closed for selling illegal fuel between 2012-13

“While I welcome the increasing cross border co-operation on this issue and while I accept that the new marker being introduced both in Britain and across Ireland should greatly assist the process of identifying and prosecuting those involved in this activity, the danger is that the fuel launderers will find a way to remove this marker also.

“It is Sinn Féin’s view that the only guaranteed means of ending this lucrative trade is to have a single tariff for diesel. A common approach could then be adopted to rebate to farmers the additional costs incurred in fuel purchases.

“The Irish Petroleum Industry Association has estimated that there may be as many as 120 illegal sites in operation (south of the border) and that these are costing the exchequer as much as €155 million per annum in lost fuel duty.

“Until an effective and sustainable solution is agreed and implemented, penalties against these criminal gangs and those who distribute the illegal fuel need to be increased. More resources should be provided to the Garda and PSNI and the Irish government and Executive should urgently review how they can maximise co-operation between policing, customs, justice and environmental agencies.”