Tuesday 22 August 2017

Couple 'forced to leave home because of smells from nearby dump' - High Court hears

Michael Mulvihill pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action against the owners and operators of a landfill site at Ballynagran landfill, Co. Wicklow.Pic: Collins Courts
Michael Mulvihill pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action against the owners and operators of a landfill site at Ballynagran landfill, Co. Wicklow.Pic: Collins Courts
Michael Mulvihill pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action against the owners and operators of a landfill site at Ballynagran landfill, Co. Wicklow. Pic: Collins Courts
Michael Mulvihill pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action against the owners and operators of a landfill site at Ballynagran landfill, Co. Wicklow.Pic: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A COUPLE had to leave their home because of noxious smells coming from a nearby landfill site, the High Court heard.

Michael and Edel Mulvihill claim they left the house at Roscath, Kilbride, Co Wicklow because of odours coming from Ballynagran landfill site which is about 250 metres away. 

They had been living Roscath since the 1990's and are now living in a chalet with no running water, they say.

They have proceedings against several allegedly linked commercial entities who they say are the owners and operators of the landfill.

The claims are denied although several of the defendant companies are not contesting the claim.

The couple seek damages for negligence breach of duty and nuisance.

Michael Mulvihill pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action against the owners and operators of a landfill site at Ballynagran landfill, Co. Wicklow.Pic: Collins Courts
Michael Mulvihill pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action against the owners and operators of a landfill site at Ballynagran landfill, Co. Wicklow.Pic: Collins Courts

As well as problems with odours, they also claim their home at Roscath was flooded in October 2006, November 2006 and December 2008.

Opening their case, Thomas Hogan SC, argued the flooding, which had never occurred previously on their lands, was caused by activities carried out on the landfill site.

Michael Mulvihill pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action against the owners and operators of a landfill site at Ballynagran landfill, Co. Wicklow. Pic: Collins Courts
Michael Mulvihill pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday after the opening day of his High Court action against the owners and operators of a landfill site at Ballynagran landfill, Co. Wicklow. Pic: Collins Courts

Counsel said in particular the flooding in 2008 caused serious damage and "effectively destroyed" the inside of their house. 

Counsel added that odours, which were almost a constant problem, from the site had also adversely affected the Mulvihill family's health.

The family also claim the lands were being managed in a way that that materials being deposited on the site were generating noxious fumes which were escaping from the site.

These toxic fumes were being allowed permeate around the Mulvihill home. 

Due to this problem, his clients left their home over a year ago and are currently living at "a small wooden chalet" with "no running water" two miles away, counsel said.

The proceedings are against Greenstar Ltd, Greenstar Holdings Ltd, Greenstar Finance Company which were all placed in receivership in 2012.

The action is also against Greenstar Properties Ltd, Greenstar South East Limited, and Starrus LFG Holdings Ltd. 

These defendants and another party, Starrus LFG Holdings Ltd, which the court heard is in the process of being liquidated, have opted not to defend the Mulvihill's claim.

Two other defendants, Ballynagran Landfill Ltd and Grunberg Ltd, which allegedly become the registered owners and operators of the site in 2014, deny the Mulvihills' claims. 

They claim they did not exist when the flooding occurred, and say it is not possible they can be held responsible for those events.  They also say the claims against them are statue barred.

Another defendant company, Starrus ECO  Holding Ltd, which is involved in the transport of material to the site, says it should not be a defendant in the case.

As part of the proceedings it has brought an application, which is opposed by the Mulvihills, that they be let out of the case.  It says it has no hand act or part in the operation of the landfill site.

The hearing before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart continues.

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