Limerick farm 'odour' case back in court
Published 15/07/2015 | 02:30
The future of a successful beef farming enterprise is hinging on the outcome of a court hearing, scheduled for hearing next week, over 'odour' from a farm.
Limerick County Council had its case against Jim Flavin, who farms 100ha near Ballyneety, 'proven' at a court hearing at Kilmallock last October.
However, the case was adjourned to allow parties to engage.
"Mediation has broken down and if I lose I'll be put out of farming and my business will be badly effected," he told the Farming Independent this week.
Mr Flavin produces up to 1,000 heifers a year in a 'farm to fork' fashion, with the heifers supplying two butcher stalls which Mr Flavin operates in Limerick.
A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council expressed "disappointment" that mediation had not been successful and said that they had "no further comment" on the "regrettable" case.
The action was taken after residents close to the farm complained about a "sweet smell", which at other times was likened to dead animals, while a Department of Agriculture inspection of the farm did not find any problem.
A technical witness for the prosecution told the court that he detected an animal feed smell that passed the threshold deemed to be a nuisance.
However, he found no odour from the bread, maize, or bale silage except a smell of beer from the barley, ingredients used in the animal feed on the farm.The finalising of the case was deferred for mediation talks, which were encouraged by farming leaders in the county.
The case is listed to be heard at Newcastlewest District Court on July 23.
Limerick ICMSA chairman Michael Lenihan said that the case has the potential to send shock waves across the agri sector because of the widespread implications for farmers throughout the country.
"If his enterprise [Mr Flavin's farm and beef operation] can be found to be below the standards people can now insist upon, then there is very little hope for 90pc of the rest of Limerick's farmers," he said.