Monread residents hope for clean air

WHETHER it’s down to bad luck or bad planning many people in living within what was once known as the Monread Triangle have been beset by a variety of smells.

WHETHER it’s down to bad luck or bad planning many people in living within what was once known as the Monread Triangle have been beset by a variety of smells.

The good news though is that their woes may be at an end.

First of all they found themselves living close to the waste facility at Kerdiffstown which, left unmonitored, became the most complained about dump in the country.

Smells from the dump enveloped the surrounding area – far beyond Monread – before action was taken in January 2011 after a series of fires raged out of control well beneath the surface of mounds of refuse.

The Environmental Protection Agency has since undertaken a huge clean up operation plan – so big it’s likely to go on for another 4 years and could cost E50m.

Before that happened international expertise was brought in from England, Scotland and Holland to deal with the fallout.

There’s no doubt that the situation has improved dramatically.

Last week - in an entirely separate development - local concern Arrow Group, which operates a number of food companies in the Monread area, admitted two environmental legislation breaches at Naas District Court.

The court case was taken by the the EPA and followed a succession of complaints from residents over a long period of time.

Arrow was effectively given six months to solve the problems and Judge Des Zaidan indicated he would visit the site.

There is no doubting the scale of the problems experienced by residents.

One claimed it was only after dump smells vanished that some realised there were odours from the food plants.

Nevertheless Arrow is a highly successful, well regarded, multi-award winning company with interests here and abroad, including the UK and South Africa. It is also a significant employer in the area and some of its employees live in the Monread area.

It was pointed out in court last week that while it may seem unusual to have industry located so close to a residential area – the food company was, more or less, there first.

Arrow began operations off the Dublin road in the early 1980s – before most of the houses and apartments were built – and expanded over subsequent years.

It became large enough to require a licence, issued by the EPA, and court action followed when conditions of the licence were allegedly breached.

Another resident told the Leader that that the worst affected people live in Dun na Riogh, Gleann na Riogh, The Maudlins and Aylmer Park.

“We feel let down by the EPA although the real problem is that the EPA does not have enough power to take action. Kildare County Council were contacted and they passed the problem to the EPA and a court case can go for you or against you. All we want is clean air and to be free of noise,” the resident said.

Meanwhile Labour TD Emmet Stagg said that while Arrow is a major employer the residents have to be considered.

“Arrow is an international food company but they may have been slow to act and the EPA took action. Depending on the wind speed and direction it can be quite bad, but it is a pity it came to this,” added the TD.

The Arrow Group did not reply in time to a request for a comment.

- Paul O’Meara