€20m fine for firm at centre of dump probe
A company at the centre of one of the biggest environmental disasters of recent years has been fined €20m.
Jenzsoph Limited has been convicted on two charges of causing environmental pollution in relation to its role in operating the Kerdiffstown landfill in Co Kildare, which is currently being cleaned up at the taxpayer's expense, with €8.5m set aside this year alone.
The company, with a registered address at Terenure Place in Terenure, Dublin, was convicted at the Circuit Criminal Court on one count of holding or disposing of waste in a manner that caused environmental pollution, in the form of nuisance odours at Kerdiffstown, Kildare, between February 1, 2007, and November 25, 2008.
It was also convicted of holding or disposing of a large mound of waste in a manner likely to cause environmental pollution at the same location between October 22, 2003, and November 25, 2008.
The company was not represented, and no defence was offered.
Jenzoph's directors are listed with the Companies Registration Office as Anthony Dean (63), with an address at Broomhill Business Complex in Tallaght, Dublin 24, and Samuel Stears (61), with an address in Ashbourne in Co Meath.
Both were also directors of two other companies involved in the landfill site, Nephin Trading and Dean Waste, which have since gone out of business.
The prosecution was taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions on foot of a file prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, told the jury that Jenzsoph Ltd controlled the 30-hectare site near Naas in Co Kildare and granted a licence to Nephin Trading in 2003 to use the site for commercial purposes.
However, odour issues began to emerge from 2006, and the EPA mounted a prosecution.
Four years later, in 2010, Nephin Trading advised the EPA it was not in a position to continue to manage the facility, and associated companies were entered into liquidation. The following year, 2011, a major fire broke out at the site where it emerged that illegal waste had been dumped which was causing a serious environmental and health risk.
It is believed that 3.1 million tonnes of waste is present, with air quality and water quality in the Morrell river of particular concern.
The EPA has secured orders for €2.6m against Dean Waste Company Ltd and Jenzsoph Ltd, and it is understood that further prosecutions may follow.
Kildare County Council took control of the site in May this year, and clean-up costs will be funded by the Department of the Environment. The final bill is not known.
The council will be seeking planning permission and a waste licence, and an environmental impact assessment will be required. No significant capital works are expected this year, but the site is monitored.