The case was heard in Naas
A major Naas company has been fined €4,000, and agreed costs of €20,000 have been awarded to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), after it pleaded guilty to failing to comply with odour regulations on January 20, 2017.
At Naas District Court on September 3, a case was heard against the Arrow Group Limited of The Maudlins Industrial Estate, which runs a number of companies from the Maudlins area of Naas.
Three others had been charged in connection with the offences — Michael Queally of Templeverick, Bonmahon, County Waterford; Peter Queally of Gardenmorris, Kill, County Waterford and John Queally, Matthewstown, Fenor, County Waterford.
But at the outset of the case, Judge Desmond Zaidan was told that the charges were being withdrawn against the three individuals but would proceed against the company.
Anthea Southey, of the EPA, said they had complaints from residents going back many years, including 48 complaints last year, and one the Friday previous to the hearing.
She said odour abatement equipment was put in in 2013 but was not sufficient. Odours came from a number of sources, including food preparation and a waste water treatment plant. She said they audited odour equipment on March 9, 2017, and it was not operating efficiently.
Ms Southey said the company had been working with the EPA to improve the system which “had not been fit for purpose”.
Karl Finnegan BL, for Arrow, said the company had spent €3 million on noise and odour problems, and a further €1 million is to be spent with the aid of German expertise.
The EPA contended there was a “significant delay” in getting the problem sorted
A resident of the Gleann na Riogh area, Patricia Woodhouse, who lives around 40 metres from the company site, kept a diary of the odours. She said there have been problems since 2003 and cited her diary items of problems on around eight different days in early 2017
She said odours had affected people in the nearby estates, in her own house and her children trying to study. She had complained to the County Council and the Eastern Health Board in the past.
The EPA said previous efforts to get rid of the odours had not worked sufficiently.
The company had pleaded guilty to the charges.
Arrow had two previous convictions under the pollution legislation, going back to March 8, 2013.
Judge Desmond Zaidan said the company had invested significantly but questioned whether this had resolved the matter.
He said: “The residents are entitled to live and breath fresh air.” They were the “real victims.”
Mr Finnegan said Arrow employed 950 people and supported community projects.
Judge Zaidan said it was “easy for the company to avoid its responsibility with a slap on the wrist”.
He imposed a fine of €4,000.