DONEGAL waste collector Jim Ferry has admitted dumping tens of thousands of tons of waste illegally and apologised to Donegal County Council for his behaviour.
According to the Irish Times Ferry has offered to give the council two lots of cash – €80,000 and €78,000 – seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau from the home of his partner and his company office at Rossbracken near Letterkenny, site of the illegal dumping, if the CAB will release the money.
He told the High Court in Dublin that Wers Waste, the company to which he allegedly sold his companies, Ferrys Refuse Collection Limited and Ferry’s Refuse Recycling Limited, paid him €158,000 but that he is now broke and unemployed and will shortly file for bankruptcy.
Ferry, who has been under threat of being jailed for contempt since last August for failing to co-operate with the council, made the disclosures in an affidavit he swore last week.
The contents of the affidavit were disclosed this morning in the High Court which has been hearing an application by Donegal County Council to have Mr Ferry jailed for contempt. The council has now retained a forensic accountant to test the information in the affidavit and exhibits, the court heard.
Richard Lyons SC told the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, that despite all the orders against him, Donegal County Council has not received one penny from Mr Ferry but had had to foot the bill for an initial clean up of the Rossbracken site.
In his affidavit, Mr Ferry claimed the illegal dumping by him at Rossbracken was “a desperate act” when he discovered a problem with the weighing of bins collected.
This explanation was dismissed as “quite frankly ludicrous” by Mr Lyons and not “totally truthful”.
Counsel for Ferry, Francis Treanor BL, said that because of the alleged weighing problem, it was not the defendant’s case that he has pocketed a large amount of money collected from householders equating to the waste at Rossbracken.
“It wasn’t that Mr Ferry was receiving hundreds of thousands,” said Mr Treanor. “He was receiving a modest income. He doesn’t have any secret bank accounts or secret stash of money.”
Jim Ferry had come to the court and “has put his hands up to such an extent that he can’t put them up any higher”.
Mr Justice Kelly spared Ferry immediate incarceration in jail but only on the basis that he co-operates with the council’s forensic accountant and continues to co-operate with the council’s efforts to remediate the site.
“I am not by any means saying that Mr Ferry is out of the woods or anything like it,” Mr Kelly said.
The Irish Times reports that Mr Justice Kelly adjourned the case until July 31 when Mr Justice Max Barrett, who had been hearing the case but is ill, will judge as to whether Mr Ferry continues to co-operate to a sufficient degree to avoid imprisonment.