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Gorey members kick up a stink at Wexford County Council meeting over odours from compost plant


Residents of Ballyminaun Hill in Gorey

Residents of Ballyminaun Hill in Gorey

Residents of Ballyminaun Hill in Gorey


THE public gallery at Wexford County Council was full of residents from the area of Ballyminaun Hill in Gorey for last week’s monthly meeting.

There on the invitation of Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Sullivan, they cut a frustrated bunch. The reason being, for years they’ve had to endure an awful stench from the nearby Custom Compost plant. So foul has it been, that it’s resulted in barbecues being cancelled, garden’s being rapidly evacuated and items having to be whipped off clotheslines and washed again.

The Gorey councillors are not unsympathetic. Cllr Sullivan’s reason to bring the delegation to the council meeting was clearly to put pressure on Chief Executive Tom Enright to act.

"These complaints go back as far as 2005,” the Fianna Fáil councillor said. “It seriously impinges on the lives of these people. The smell would put you out of your garden. It impacts upon children playing, the smell of clothes.

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"These people have gotten nowhere with the council or the EPA. The factory owner has come up with various planning applications to extend the chimney stack etc, but nothing has been done. I’d ask the Chief Executive to seriously consider his reply to these people that are here today.”

The council chief replied: “This is a huge nuisance, I’m very much aware. There is a proposal from the owners (of the plant) for an alternative system which would alleviate some of the problems and there are ongoing discussions. I’d like to get some timeframes on this and not let the matter drift further. If this is the solution, I’d like to see it enacted asap. The residents can be assured of our goodwill in trying to get this situation resolved. This business brings significant employment to the area too though and we’re trying to get the balance right here.”

Cllr Sullivan was unhappy to let the matter rest there.

"I wouldn’t be representing these people if I didn’t say that we’ve heard it all before,” he said. “It’s now time for the council and the EPA to act. We’ve heard that they’re ‘getting a new system’ etc before.”

Mr Enright replied that he’s seen proposals for a new technological solution and noted that “if it doesn’t happen, we’ll have to look for very strong enforcement. This can’t go on.”

Cllr Diarmuid Devereux flagged the fact that he himself lives in the affected area and is a neighbour of those frustrated residents who filled the back of the room.

"Ten years ago the company was granted planning permission to deal with this,” he said. “That permission has been extended twice and still nothing has been done. It’s not acceptable. We have situations where kids won’t put on football jerseys that have been hanging on the washing line when they arrive at a match because of the smell off them. I’d invite everyone of my colleagues to come up to Ballyminaun and see if you can stick it.

"Since 2012, the communication with this company has been dreadful too. They simply will not speak to their neighbours. Somebody from the company needs to sit down and communicate with people living in the area. In terms of what they’re saying now, I don’t believe it and I don’t trust it.”

The Gorey councillors were unanimous in their support for the residents and the discussion is sure to have increased pressure on Custom Compost to find a credible solution, and quickly.