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Weed killer company to pay €5,000 to charity over pollution in River Tolka

An inspector said the firm discharged 5,000 times the limit of glyphosate that should be in groundwater.

The Tolka river at Griffith Park in Dublin. File photo.
The Tolka river at Griffith Park in Dublin. File photo.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A LEADING WEED killer manufacturing company has been given a chance to avoid a recorded conviction for pollution of local ground water and the River Tolka in Dublin.

The prosecution was brought following an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Barclay Chemicals Manufacturing Ltd pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to environmental breaches in relation to ground and surface water on dates in 2019.

EPA inspector Brian Duggan told Judge Anthony Halpin that the firm, based at Damastown Way, in Mulhuddart, Dublin, discharged 5,000 times the limit of glyphosate that should be in groundwater.

Discharges into the Tolka also exceeded the firm’s environmental licence but would have lost concentration in the river, Duggan said in response to a query from Judge Halpin.

The firm subsequently put in place corrective measures and co-operated with the agency, the court heard.

Questioned by defence counsel Eoghan Cole, the EPA witness agreed that drinking water was not affected, it did not pose a risk to human life or result in a fish kill.

Cole told the court the firm had spent €250,000 in repairs. It employed 80 people and was an Irish success story exporting to 30 countries and was leading supplier, counsel said.

The case had been delayed due to the pandemic and a guilty plea was indicated at an early stage, Cole said.

He asked the court to consider dealing with the case in a way that would leave the herbicide firm without a conviction.

The company had already paid the EPA’s costs of €6469, the court heard.

Judge Halpin said dealing with chemicals is dangerous which is why high standards are expected from a company like this.

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He noted the cost of upgrading and the evidence of the EPA.

He said he would apply the Probation of Offenders Act, sparing the firm company a recorded conviction if it gives the €5,000 to the Little Flower Penny Dinner Charity which helps underprivileged people in Dublin city-centre’s Liberties area.

The case was adjourned until a date in September.

Comments are closed as proceedings are ongoing.

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Tom Tuite

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