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Farmer fined over €5,000 for polluting river with silage effluent

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Monaghan man pleaded guilty to the charges. Photo: Stock image

Monaghan man pleaded guilty to the charges. Photo: Stock image

Monaghan man pleaded guilty to the charges. Photo: Stock image

A Monaghan farmer has been convicted of allowing silage effluent to enter a local river following a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Mr Thomas McEnaney, a farmer from Ardragh in Carrickmacross who pleaded guilty to charges, was fined €400 and ordered to pay an additional €5,273.15 for costs and expenses.

At Carrickmacross District Court on May 23, 2022, Judge Raymond Finnegan convicted Mr McEnaney of a breach of the Fisheries Acts for allowing silage effluent to enter a watercourse.

Ailish Keane, a Senior Fisheries Environmental Officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland, gave evidence that the silage pit was not fit for purpose when it was inspected, as effluent, which is a highly toxic substance, was escaping through a surface water system and into an open watercourse.

The silage effluent from Mr McEnaney’s property subsequently polluted a tributary of the Annalee River in the Erne River catchment, according to water samples taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland.

Following the conviction, Inland Fisheries Ireland is appealing to the farming and agricultural community to ensure that silage pits are fit for purpose and are regularly checked whilst in use to prevent accidental runoff to rivers and lakes.

Dr Milton Matthews, Director of the North West River Basin District with Inland Fisheries Ireland, said silage effluent is a highly polluting substance which can have severe and long-term impacts on aquatic ecosystems due to deoxygenation and nutrient enrichment.

“Streams, rivers and lakes are particularly prone to any silage effluent discharges which may occur during the summer months when water levels are low, which can result in major fish kill events,” he said.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland are appealing to the farming and agricultural community to ensure that silage pits are fit for purpose and are regularly inspected and maintained to ensure Ireland’s water quality, fisheries and aquatic biodiversity are protected.”

To report cases of water pollution, phone the 24-hour hotline on 0818 34 74 24.

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