ONE of Donegal’s largest refuse collectors was before Letterkenny District Court today charged with illegally dumping hundreds of tonnes of waste in a field he owns in front of his mother’s home near Falcarragh.
Jim Ferry of Rossbracken, Manorcunningham, was facing nine charges relating to the illegal disposal of household waste at Doire Uí Fríll, Falcarragh, on June 10, 2010.
Judge Paul Kelly was shown covert video recordings showing two of Ferry’s distinctive green and yellow bin lorries dumping waste in holes in the field before it was buried using a track digger at around 5 am on the morning in question.
One of the men was wearing a hi-viz jacket with the name ‘Ferry Refuse’ emblazoned across the back of it.
The recordings were made by Donegal County Council’s Waste Enforcement Officer, Mr Dearn McClintock, who was taken to the isolated location by an anonymous member of the public.
Ferry’s barrister, Mr Sean Gillane SC, asked that a number of the charges be struck out on a technical matter.
However, Judge Kelly refused the application.
The council’s barrister, Richard Lyons SC, told the court that Mr McClintock arrived back at the site six days later, on June 16, in the company of a local garda sergeant and, again, one of Ferry’s lorries was dumping waste.
However, when he and his colleague identified themselves to the lorry and digger drivers, they made off on foot and gardai could not catch them.
Mr McClintock said the site was levelled with a bulldozer a few days later despite him telling Ferry that it was not to be interfered with.
Mr McClintock said he believed the site levelling was a deliberate attempt to hide the waste and to interfere with the council’s investigation.
However, Mr Gillane stated that this charge against his client had been withdrawn.
A geophysical survey revealed that more than 1,000 cubic metres of waste had been buried there.
The court also heard that Ferry ignored an order to remove the remaining waste from the site and that it is still present there.
The hearing ended early after Mr Gillane told Judge Kelly that “a development took place that I have not experienced before.”
He added that his solicitor had received a “communication” and asked that the matter be adjourned for the day.
Judge Kelly agreed and the case will resume tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10.30 am.