THE council has decided to sit on a report into illegal dumping by the Department of Defence (DoD) in Donnelly’s Hollow on the Curragh, despite its head of Environment calling it “a flagrant breach” and warning that it could lead to litigation if not resolved.
This two-year old issue was again brought to the fore by Cllr Patricia Ryan at the monthly meeting of Kildare Co Council on 27 January, when she asked when the elected members might by shown the report that was put together by Malone O’Regan Environmental Consultancy for the Department of Defence.
It came to light in 2018 that the DoD had dumped “1,000s of tonnes” of building waste at this famous beauty spot without any permission.
Cllr Ryan reminded the meeting her former colleague Mark Lynch had first raised this issue two years ago. “This has been a long enough time to produce a report on this”.
“Who gave permission for this? If no-one, who was fined for this? If not, why wasn’t it put back to the way it was, and how much will it cost to do that?” she reasonably asked.
“This is one of the biggest open green areas in Europe, and this is unacceptable,” she added.
“The council gave no permission, but there has been significant investigation into the type of material, and it has been established there is no environmental risk,” Joe Boland, Kildare’s Director of Services at its Environment Section, assured the members.
He was able to tell the meeting that a firm called JBA Consulting was engaged by the council to peer review the Malone O’Regan work, and “is satisfied there is not a significant environmental risk”.
“We’re in discussions with the DoD, and trying to resolve this matter,” said Mr Boland.
“Discussions are advanced, though protracted, and it needs to come to a head [however] because discussions are at an advanced and sensitive stage it was felt the release of the report might prejudice negotiations,” explained Mr Boland.
“Why are the DoD not being fined?” asked Cllr Ryan.
“No-one is trying to justify this. It is a flagrant breach of planning here. If the matter is not resolved, it could lead to litigation,” Mr Boland told the members.
Earlier, Mr Boland had given detail into what work was carried on the site by the consultancy firms, which included geophysical and topographical surveys, a trial pit, boreholes, imported material analysis and ground water investigations.
“It was established that the material imported largely relates to soils and stones, with some minor concrete particles,” he explained.