Saturday 25 November 2017

Judge 'amazed' that refuse company director who owes €320,000 in landfill charges has failed to obey court order

Liam Brien was sentenced to eight years imprisonment by Judge Rory McCabe on March 17 2013.
Liam Brien was sentenced to eight years imprisonment by Judge Rory McCabe on March 17 2013.

Greg Harkin

The director of a refuse company who hasn’t paid any of a €320,000 debt to a council for landfill charges has been warned by a judge to comply with a court order.

Jim Ferry (58), from Rossbracken, Letterkenny, appeared at the town’s District Court after being ordered to do so by a judge last month.

However Judge Paul Kelly said he was “amazed” that Ferry had still not provided a statement on his means despite an order for him to do so.

Ferry operates Ferry’s Refuse Limited in Manorcunningham, Co Donegal.

He lost his waste disposal license last year after a string of convictions for illegal dumping. He has been given four suspended prison sentences since 1999.

Lisa Finnegan, solicitor for Donegal County Council, told the judge that she had been handed a copy of a self-assessment tax return this morning which failed to comply with the order issued last month.

Ferry's solicitor Kevin McElhinney said his client had not provided the statement because he had been in negotiations with the council to come to an arrangement on the debt. Those talks had collapsed yesterday, he said.

"I have explained to my client that he should have had the statement of means in court regardless of the fact that discussions going on or not; however I would ask for one final opportunity to produce a statement of means in advance of March,” said Mr McElhinney.

Ms Finnegan said she couldn't progress the case without a statement of means.

"The court order on January 19 was that this statement should be provided 7 days in advance of today," she said.

She agreed to "one final adjournment" on condition that Mr Ferry provide details of all his income to the court and to her within seven days.

Judge Kelly said: “I am amazed that a man of Mr Ferry’s experience hasn’t filed a statement of means despite an order to do so.

"This isn't a matter which has dropped on him in the last week because this application by the council was lodged in 2010."

The judge said payments Ferry had made to the council last year were for other charges and not for the outstanding debt.

He told Mr McElhinney: ”He is liable to pay both (the outstanding fees and the landfill charges). He was choosing to pay one and not the other; the net affect is the council is funding your client's interest on the money he owes them and that's just not good enough."

Ferry was ordered to provide a statement on his personal income and expenditure to council solicitors and to the court within seven days. He was also ordered re-appear at Letterkenny District Court on March 4.

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