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Refuse collector loses action over waste licence refusal

Jim Ferry  (North West Newspix)

Jim Ferry (North West Newspix)

A DONEGAL refuse collector who made a “commercial decision” to illegally dump rubbish has lost an appeal against a decision to refuse him a waste collection licence.

Jim Ferry (56), of Ferry’s Refuse Collection Ltd, was in Tullamore District Court on Monday appealing against the refusal last year by the National Waste Collection Permit Office (NWCPO) to grant him a licence. The NWCPO is based in Offaly County Council.

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Ferry of Rossbracken, Manorcunningham, had previously been convicted of breaches of the waste management regulations.

The court heard that Ferry’s daughter and partner had been granted a licence for a new business with an almost identical name, based at the same address.

In addition to being fined, it was also revealed in court he twice received six-month suspended sentences and is currently paying €800 a week to Donegal County Council to discharge the financial penalties.

He also previously paid €15,000 costs to Offaly County Council, operator of the NWCPO, and must pay another €5,000 in costs arising from the latest court hearing.

Judge Catherine Staines was told the first conviction in 2005 related to the burial of at least one lorry load of household waste on an unauthorised site owned by Ferry.

In 2013, after Donegal County Council had gathered video evidence of large-scale illegal dumping at Doire Ui Frill, Falcarragh, in 2010, he was convicted again at Letterkenny District Court.

Tullamore Court was told that 213 tonnes of mixed municipal waste was removed from the unauthorised site at the front of Ferry’s mother’s house.

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Mr Michael McGarvey, senior engineer with Donegal County Council, said a notice requiring the removal of the waste, which was issued in October, 2010, was not complied with until November, 2014.

Ferry told Monday’s court that he did not have the money at the time to comply with the notice and, when he did, it cost him €50,000 in landfill levies.

He said he would not commit a similar offence again, had paid for a consultant’s report on his business and was going to undertake a course of training in England at a cost of £5,000 sterling.

Referring to the first offence, Judge Staines said Ferry had made a commercial decision to dump waste and avoid paying landfill charges. That had given him a commercial advantage in flagrant breach of the waste management regulations.

“These regulations are so important in maintaining the integrity of our beautiful country but also to protect the health of our citizens,” said the judge.

Despite being convicted and being given a suspended sentence, he went on to commit another offence.

“This is a deliberate and conscious decision made for financial reasons, fully aware that he was breaching the waste management law,” said Judge Staines.

She noted that Mr Leo Duffy, manager of the NWCPO, had given evidence that Ferry’s case was the first waste permit refusal of its kind and she said the Donegal man had only removed the waste which was dumped in 2010 after his permit was refused in September, 2014.

The court was also told that Ferry’s company had 50 employees and serviced 10,000 customers.

Judge Staines said she had heard evidence that his daughter had been granted a waste permit licence.

Ferry’s Refuse Collection Recycling Ltd, also based at Rossbracken, was granted a permit last December.

“I hope, though it’s not a matter for the court, that his employees will find employment with her company,” she said.

She added that, perhaps, Ferry’s daughter could service the 10,000 customers, but she hoped she had learned lessons from the mistakes made by her father.

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