Given all the legislation passed already by the House, and the Bill currently on Committee Stage in the House, and the collective effort being made throughout the country to clean up the environment, it is almost beyond comprehension that further illegal dumps are being found. I want to know how an unregistered and illegal dump in a scenic area, which I believe is being considered as a wildlife protection area, could conduct its business for years, with trucks coming and going without anyone in South Tipperary County Council knowing about it.
Under the legislation passed in the House I tried to investigate this matter with the officials concerned. The reply I received was that I should put my request under the Freedom of Information Act, which is unacceptable. Why was Dúchas, which forms part of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, using the dump? Last Monday morning, a Dúchas truck dumped all sorts of material in the illegal dump, including literature from Dúchas. This unregistered dump near a fen is surely a risk to contaminating the local water table. The lock on the gate leading to the dump is of Dúchas issue, one which is commonly used throughout the country by Dúchas. A sign located in the site is exclusively used by Dúchas and it is my understanding that this illegal dump may be used exclusively by Dúchas, not just by its Kilkenny depot but by a number of other depots located in the area. I cannot say with certainty the length of time this has been going on, but I have reason to believe it has been going on for years. Furthermore, I have reason to believe that hazardous material such as asbestos has been dumped by the sack load in the dump. A Government agency has not only broken the law but has done so in a manner that is appalling to contemplate. What did the Dublin-based managers know about this? More to the point how could they not know that Dúchas was dumping lorry loads of waste in this illegal dump?
As I have said already, I believe a number of depots were involved. Where did they think the material was going? This is not something that can be laid exclusively at the doors of local managers. At best this is mismanagement or at worst gross incompetence. There is a lack of knowledge or a turning of a blind eye – both are equally damning.
Over the years I have asked many questions of Dúchas and it has frequently demonstrated by way of answer to those questions its lack of interest in being accountable. I appeal to the Minister of State to raise the appropriate questions with this organisation to ask if there are other—