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Illegal gas works caused explosion in Donegal kitchen

Ballyshannon District Court

 

A Bundoran man has been prosecuted for undertaking potentially dangerous and illegal gas works. 

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The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Ireland’s independent energy regulator has successfully secured a prosecution against Mr. Jerome Travers, 18 Tullan Strand Road, Bundoran, Co. Donegal for illegally carrying out gas works while not being a registered gas installer.

The case was heard in Ballyshannon District Court under presiding Judge Kilrane, who convicted and fined Mr. Travers for undertaking gas works while not being a registered gas installer. Mr. Travers contested the charges against him.

The gas works were undertaken in a house in Bundoran in December 2015 and resulted in an uncontrolled flow of gas into the kitchen causing an explosion which injured the occupants and did extensive damage to the property. Judge Kilrane fined Mr. Travers €500 and awarded costs of €500 to the CER.

Judge Kilrane heard evidence from Seán Ward and Keith Walsh, Gas Safety Officers with the Commission for Energy Regulation and from four witnesses. Judge Kilrane commented that there are few things more serious than leaving a gas pipe open ended with an uncontrolled supply of gas going into the kitchen and that it just shows you how important it is to employ a registered gas installer (RGI). There was no evidence of Mr. Travers having any qualifications whatsoever to be an RGI.

The CER’s Commissioner for Energy Safety, Dr. Paul McGowan said: “If a gas installer does not have the required registration or cannot prove membership of the RGII scheme, consumers should not use them and if they suspect that they are acting illegally, they should contact RGII. The CER will continue to pursue such cases against individuals and companies who do not observe the legal requirements for undertaking gas installations or works”.

It is illegal for an individual or company to carry out Gas Works or to portray themselves as registered, unless they are a Registered Gas Installer (RGI) with the Register of Gas Installers of Ireland (RGII). The penalties for non-compliance include a fine of up to €15,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 years.

The number of prosecutions taken by the CER has continued to rise annually since 2011.
The CER’s objective in this area is to protect life and property, deliver the safety regulatory system to oversee the industry, build awareness levels of the issues among consumers and the general public and to prosecute unregistered individuals or companies where required.

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The CER investigates all reports of alleged breaches of legislation. Illegal activity can be reported anonymously to the CER or to the RGII (www.RGII.ie or calling 1850 454 454). Members of the public who wish to report an unregistered individual who has undertaken gas works or has portrayed themselves as a registered gas installer should visit www.rgii.ie.

 

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