A judge has ordered a man to pay over €18,000 after he was found guilty of dumping in a protected bog in the midlands.
The male was fined €15,000 plus €3,810 in costs for dumping in 2020 in the protected Milltownpass Bog Natural Heritage Area.
Milltownpass Bog is designated as a Natural Heritage Area (NHA) under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage brought the case before Mullingar District Court by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, on Thursday, April 8th, 2021.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Ranger Tríona Finnen gave evidence that she investigated dumping reports in February 2020.
On the two dates, she observed a truck dump soil material within the protected NHA on lands registered in the ownership of the minister and on adjacent land.
The court heard there was no licence or permit in place for the dumping from either the county council or the NPWS.
100 truckloads of soil
The court heard that, when interviewed by Ranger Finnen under caution, the man admitted employing a driver to transport and dump soil on the land.
An estimated combined total of 100 truckloads of soil were dumped in the protected NHA during spring 2020.
The judge received evidence from Ranger Finnen and clarification on points from NPWS Ranger Therese Kelly.
He was satisfied that the man should be convicted on all summonses before the court. He stated that the breaches had to be treated as aggravated breaches of the law.
The man indicated that he intended to appeal the verdict. The judge adjourned the case against the other defendant, the truck driver, until June 17th.
Serve as a deterrent
Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform said: “Illegal dumping is a serious issue, even more so when it impacts on important habitats.”
“I welcome this judgement and fine and hope it will serve as a deterrent to others who engage in such activities.”
“I commend my team in the National Parks and Wildlife Service and all those who helped to bring about this successful prosecution,” he concluded.