Irish Water guilty of sewage pollution at four plants across the country

Tests of the discharge showed excessive emissions of ammonia as well as phosphorus.

  Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

IRISH WATER HAS pleaded guilty to breaking environmental laws following the discovery of sewage pollution at treatment plants in Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Cork.

The company, which is being prosecuted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court on to 11 charges under Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) regulations. Irish Water had been prosecuted twice previously by the EPA and the court could hand down fines of up to €5,000 per offence, Judge John Brennan noted.

 

He adjourned the case for two weeks to consider what sanction he will impose.

Prosecuting solicitor Maeve Larkin said the EPA was proceeding with three charges in connection with a waste water treatment plant in Athenry, Galway. This facility takes in waste water for treatment and then discharges clean water into the Clarinbridge river.

It failed to complete required upgrades by the end of 2015 and had released water with excessive pollutants into the river and failed to report an incident. EPA inspector Una O’Callaghan said Irish Water had indicated to Irish Water that the required work to reduce ammonia and phosphorus in water had to be done by the third quarter of 2015.

Irish Water told the EPA it would comply by April 2016, then moved the date back to the second half of 2017 and Irish Water now says the upgrading work will not start until 2018 and is not expected to be completed until the following year.

Tests of the discharge showed excessive emissions of ammonia, which can kill fish, as well as phosphorus, which can be a risk to the aquatic environment, the court was told.

The EPA inspector agreed with Larkin that from July 20, 2105 until August 2016 there were 11 occasions when pollutant levels breached regulation limits. Judge John Brennan heard that ammonia levels varied between 10 and 73 times the limit. During the same period phosphorus levels were between four and 23 times the limit.

Irish Water failed to notify the EPA about a mechanical failure led to a breakdown at the plant on 4 May last year when 40% of the waste water taken in could not be treated.

 

Source: Journal.ie, Mar 9 2017


Petition Minister for Justice and April rally on behalf of JobstownNotGuilty

 Press conference todayannounces rally on 1st April at Liberty Hall, Dublin.  Photo Rossport 5, Patricia McKenna and TUists.

Press conference todayannounces rally on 1st April at Liberty Hall, Dublin.  Photo Rossport 5, Patricia McKenna and TUists.

Why is this important?

A 17 year old school student has already been found guilty of false imprisonment – a verdict a barrister described as “a recipe for totalitarianism”.

This related to an anti water charges protest in Jobstown, Tallaght in Dublin on 15 November 2014, where then Tánaiste Joan Burton’s car was delayed for 2 and ½ hours by a spontaneous community protest.

The 18 adults now awaiting trial from April 2017 face sentences up to life imprisonment. The trials, which will be six to eight weeks long, themselves will place enormous stress and strain on the defendants. If jailed, families would be left in very difficult situations, with jobs lost and parents in prison. If TD Paul Murphy is jailed for more than six months, he will be removed as a TD, denying the democratic choice of the people of Dublin South West.

The political establishment and the supportive media are desperate to tarnish the anti water charges movement as a violent, anti-democratic mob. By grossly misrepresenting and using what happened in Jobstown they want to weaken our democratic rights and so make it easier to impose economic inequality.

The laws used to directly seize the Property Tax from wages or benefits as well the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation used to rob the wages of pubic servants, show that this attack is real. The dirty smear campaign against Maurice McCabe by the Gardai tops, shows the lengths this rotten establishment are willing to go to shut down descent and opposition to the status quo.

The definition of ‘false imprisonment’ is being changed and this affects everyone. Any temporary delay or obstruction at a protest or picket, which for example inconveniences a politician, could be deemed false imprisonment. This is about intimidating people and criminalising protest.

Source: https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/protesting-is-not-a-crime-drop-the-charges-against-jobstownnotguilty


The man who knows how to make a citizen’s arrest

Stephen Manning uses a legal provision to pursue those who may have broken the law

 Stephen Manning has taken actions against gardaí, court staff and judges. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Stephen Manning has taken actions against gardaí, court staff and judges. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Stephen Manning was sentenced to two months in jail last week. However, he was not in Castlebar District Court to hear the judge’s ruling on a charge of breaching the peace in the town’s courthouse last year. Instead, he was in Dublin, trying to hand in a petition to the Supreme Court.

Manning continues to deny the Castlebar charge and says he was never told he was due in court. He is now on bail pending an appeal. “It’s scary, it’s very scary,” he says.

Manning, a retired teacher, has been in many courts. In the beginning, he was there with other members of his group, Integrity Ireland, to protest against home repossessions in Mayo.

More recently, however, he has begun to use an obscure legal provision dating from Victorian times which allows private citizens to criminally prosecute those they believe have broken the law.

Under the 1851 Petty Sessions Act a person can ask a judge to issue a summons for a suspected lawbreaker. A garda or lawyer is not required. The standard of evidence necessary for issuing a summons is quite low.

Serious allegations

The private prosecutor can take a case to its end, one that could involve jail for a person found guilty. If the allegations are serious, the Director of Public Prosecutions will take over and has the option of proceeding with the case, or dropping it.

He started trying to bring his own prosecutions, he says, because “there was so much wrongdoing going on by agents and agencies of the State”. So far, he has taken actions against gardaí, court staff and judges.

Despite making initial headway in some cases, he has yet to succeed in convicting anyone. Failure, however, proves to his eyes that he is right about the system, not that he was wrong to take the actions.

“Clearly the decisions are made from on high that ‘we do not let our guys get prosecuted because if the public gets to hear they can do this, we’re finished’”.

Last year, Manning was an unsuccessful candidate in the general election, running in Mayo. He got 157 first preference votes.

He has published a book, DIY Justice in IrelandProsecuting by Common Informer which is subtitled: “The quick and easy (lawful) way to take on tricksters, tyrants, thugs and thieves in the Irish Justice System.”

Besides offering guidance on private prosecution and citizens’ arrests, it lambasts the Courts Service as a private corporation whose objective is to “turn a profit” and accuses the legal profession of being “rife” with malpractice, fraud, perjury and deception.

“I know I must sound like a conspiracy nut, and I used to think like that when I heard people talking like this, but it is my honest opinion that we have a very seriously corrupt justice system,” he said.

 

Source: Conor Gallagher, Irish Times, Feb 3 2017