Saturday 10 December 2016

€7.4m profit for firm at centre of 'bog road' controversy

Gordon Deegan

Published 06/10/2015 | 02:30

A section of Bronze Age timber trackway in the Mayne Bog in Co Westmeath exposed in test excavation in May 2015
A section of Bronze Age timber trackway in the Mayne Bog in Co Westmeath exposed in test excavation in May 2015
The timbers in June 2015 destroyed to allow drainage for peat.

The composting firm at the centre of a controversy concerning the destruction of a Bronze Age timber road in the Midlands last year recorded pre-tax profits of £5.54m (€7.4m).

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New accounts just filed with Companies House in the UK by Westland Horticulture Ltd show that revenues at the company last year increased by 4pc to £106m.

The Belfast-based group last year paid £1.5m to its shareholders in dividends and this followed a dividend pay-out of £500,000 in 2013.

Pre-tax profits declined by 16pc from £6.5m in 2013 to £5.5m.

In 2005, the ancient road at Mayne Bog, Coole, Co Westmeath was discovered and extraction work by Westland Horticulture was expected to cease, but the National Monuments Service did not issue a preservation order which allowed work to continue.

At least 75pc of the route has been removed and Westland Horticulture has stated that it was, "first made aware of the potential presence of an archaeological site at Mayne in 2005 and fully co-operated with archaeologists from Dúchas [now National Monuments Service] who carried out a preliminary site inspection".

An Taisce has referred the matter to the European Commission for intervention.

According to the directors' report for 2014, they "are satisfied with the results for the year given the continued difficult economic climate.

"The directors have plans in place to ensure the group is strongly placed to retain its market position and continued profitability".

Numbers employed by the firm last year increased from 431 to 475 with staff costs increasing from £13.26m to £15.46m

Remuneration to the firm's seven directors, including pension payments, last year increased by 38pc going from £862,854 to £1.19m.

Irish Independent

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