TWO companies that illegally exported waste causing a major food scare and the partial shut-down of the Dutch pig industry were fined €40,000 each by a court yesterday.
The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday imposed fines on Cara Environmental Technology after it pleaded guilty to four counts of shipping waste out of the State in 2000-2001 without the necessary licence.
AHP Manufacturing which trades as Wyeth Medica Ireland, pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching environmental protection laws in 2000-2001. It was also fined €40,000.
The charges related to the illegal shipment from Wyeth's plant in Newbridge, Co Kildare, by Cara to a Belgian company called Bioland of waste water containing a waste product from a contraceptive drug, which was processed into treacle and used in pig feed.
A major food scare resulted in 2002 after Dutch farmers discovered that their pigs were having fertility problems.
The court heard yesterday that Wyeth believed its waste was being treated properly, but had not taken steps to ensure it was disposed of correctly.
Detective Garda Philip Ryan told the court that Wyeth engaged Cara to dispose of their hazardous waste material -- sugar water with traces of MPA, a synthetic hormone.
Cara Environmental Technology had classified the waste as non-hazardous instead of hazardous, meaning they could move the waste abroad without regulation or notification. Det Gda Ryan confirmed Cara was not an agreed hazardous waste contractor under Environmental Protection Agency licence.
Prosecutors accepted that Wyeth had no intention to cause damage or make financial gain.
Both companies sought a copy of the licence from Bioland to show it could accept the waste, and although it was not provided, neither company followed it up. The two brothers who owned Bioland were prosecuted this summer.
Wyeth agreed to pay €70,000 as a contribution to the prosecution costs while Cara Environmental Technologies Limited agreed to pay €50,000 costs.
Sources said the costs of taking the case could be €500,000.
Cara Environmental Technology is part-owned by Brendan Keane, spokesman for the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA), which is bitterly opposed to the incinerator planned for Dublin's Poolbeg peninsula. The company pleaded guilty to the charges in July. Mr Keane refused to comment.