Cllr. Paddy Kennedy draws Monasterevin composter’s ire

Pat Cleary, the owner of the controversial Cleary Composting, sent a letter of complaint to Kildare County Council following the visit of some locals and a county councillor Paddy Kennedy to the facility.

Pat Cleary, the owner of the controversial Cleary Composting, sent a letter of complaint to Kildare County Council following the visit of some locals and a county councillor Paddy Kennedy to the facility.

He has also, he says, made a formal complaint to Gardai.

Cleary Composting has been in the eye of the storm since strong odours started emanating from it in recent months.

Monasterevin locals investigating the smell have, in the course of their campaign, uncovered inadequacies in the regulation of the facility by Kildare County Council.

Meanwhile work at a composting plant has been effectively suspended by the EPA, and its future remains in limbo while the Department of Agriculture seeks clarity from the EPA on the definition and grading of various materials that are being brought there.

In his letter to the council, Mr. Cleary makes allegations against the councillor and the locals, which have been refuted.

He says that on Friday, May 18, Cllr. Kennedy arrived as part of a “convoy of vehicles unannounced”. They “failed to adhere to strict procedures relating to entry to private property”.

And they were “carrying and placing a dead bird on organic fines (the waste being composted) for the purposes of insinuating that the materials located in the facility would have the effect of ‘causing birds to drop from the sky’.”

He says that the group illegally took samples of waste without adhering to strict compliance protocol.

“They also ran amuck by entering other areas outside of the waste management facility against the strong protests from the Site Manager.

“I have tried to engage positively with this group dealing with legitimate complaints and concerns and explaining remedial actions undertaken. This approach was rejected out of hand.”

He also points out that the facility is not in Cllr. Kennedy’s electoral area.

Cllr. Kennedy has confirmed that he was advised by a senior council official to “write a letter of apology”. He says he’s waiting to be formally advised to send such a letter before he formally refuses to do so.

He described it as “ridiculous”, and, noting that the letter was written to the County Manager, he made it clear he does not “work for the County Manager. I work for the people of Kildare”.

“I won’t be apologising,” he stated firmly.

And he criticised delays from the Department of Agriculture, saying the whole thing should have been sorted out quickly.

In correspondence with the Leinster Leader, local man Liam Reidy said that on the day in question, there was “a horrendous odour at several local houses from the facility.

“The councillor went with the residents to sign the complaints book about the odour which is allowed under the facility’s permit conditions. There was no trespassing.”

In relation to the allegation about a dead bird, he responded simply that “this is an untruth. Who would have a dead bird in their pocket?”

And he added that Cllr. Kennedy was there in his capacity as a member of the Water and Environmental Services Special Policy Committee in Kildare County Council.

He added that he was “shocked to learn that Cllr Kennedy was asked to apologise....for doing something he was perfectly entitled to do”.

Speaking to the Leinster Leader yesterday, Monday, July 9, Mr. Cleary said he was “sick to the back teeth of the whole thing. It’s taken on a life of its own.”

He said that a lot of what was being said about him and the facility has been factually incorrect. “People need to check their facts.”

“We have rights as well. People think they can get up and say what they like,” he said.

And he stressed that at all times he was compliant with all conditions imposed on him by the Council, the Department of Agriculture and the EPA.

A planned development of the site is now on hold, he explained, until the Department of Agriculture reports back on the clarification.