'No more of your nonsense' - Judge tells farmer his actions are affecting the general community by causing pollution

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Court Reporter

A JUDGE told a County Limerick farmer prosecuted for water pollution she will press the “nuclear button” and wants “no more of your nonsense”.

Aidan Leonard, a farmyard inspector with Limerick Council, said he visited William O’Keeffe, of Ardroe, Pallasgreen on April 20, 2016.

“A complaint was made about his facilities. He has 33 hectares but he doesn’t have a farmyard. He had 57 cattle but has a lack of facilities. Outwintering cattle causes poaching of the land. If the cattle compress the land, it is churned up and there is a run off of effluent,” said Mr Leonard.

The inspector said Mr O’Keeffe gave him an undertaking that he would reduce his herd. On February 14, Mr Leonard said he visited the farm and found the land poached due to the number of cattle on it.

“He has agreed to sell the vast majority of his herd,” said Mr Leonard, who added that grass is going to grow from now and he has no problem with “summer grazing”.

Brendan Gill, solicitor for Mr O’Keeffe, made the point that his client’s undertaking to reduce cattle numbers was not made in court. Mr Gill asked Mr Leonard if 10 cattle would be in order?

Mr Leonard asked for a wintering plan for next year and “smaller or lighter cattle if possible”.

Mr Gill said Mr O’Keeffe is “prepared to substantially reduce his herd”.

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Judge Marie Keane said: “We’ve heard that before.”

Mr Gill said his client had difficulty in selling cattle.

Judge Keane said Mr O’Keeffe is “ducking and diving”.

“He may have scant regard for the environment but his actions are affecting the general community by causing pollution,” said Judge Keane.

She ordered that a wintering plan be prepared with an appropriate agricultural provider and submitted to Limerick City and County Council before the next court.

If it isn’t, Judge Keane said she will press the “nuclear button”.

“I want no more of your nonsense,” said Judge Keane, who adjourned the case back to Kilmallock Court in April. Mr Gill said there will be “no excuses”.

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