Criminals continue to target sites around Louth for dumping of toxic sludge

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While Louth County were told the overall spend on cleaning up fuel laundering was on the decrease, there are appears to be no let up in incidences of dumping.

In fact evidence suggests that fuel launderers are, if anything, becoming more brazen and are choosing to hit the same locations repeatedly.

Last Tuesday private contractors were dispatched to Stephenstown Pond to deal with four IBCs of diesel sludge which had been left on the roadside.

This was fourth time criminals hit this area in just three months.

Similar incidents took place on September 12, where six IBCs were dumped, while on August 2, 3 IBCs of sludge dumped, again presumably pushed off the back of a flatbed trailer. On 11 July 2 IBCs were dumped opposite the entrance way to the local tourist attraction, in what could be perceived as a proverbial “two fingers” to authorities.

Stephenstown Pond is not alone in being hit on more than one occasion.

Ballykelly ESB Sub station was hit on the 11th of September,having been hit just on the 16th of July.

Kilkerly, Gorteeen, Faughart, Dungooley Corner, Philipstown Mills, the Armagh Road under the M1 underpass, and the Mill Road have all been hit in the last six months.

The only change in pattern by the fuel launderers is that the days of large scale dumping of 10 or more IBCs is becoming common, with the criminals preferring to dump in region of three to four IBCs at anyone time.

Using smaller vehicles to dump a small number of IBCs is the preferred method of dumping as it less conspicuous than dumping entire trailers loads.

Also, it gives the authorities less of an opportunity to trace the trailers which were jettisoned with larger loads in 2012 and 2013.

Cllr MaeveYore, who raised the issue last week in relation to local authority spending, says that more needs to be done to tackle the problem.

“This is giving Louth a bad name. I understand that while spending on the issue in Louth has come down and is directly reimbursed by the Department, this is still a multi-million euro problem for the state.

“We shouldn’t be brushing this issue under the carpet and bringing it up when election times comes around.

“More measures need to be taken to make it harder for the launderers to get away with this issue.

In February of this year Revenue said they were in a joint process with their equivalents in the UK to introduce a new marker that is resistant to all known laundering processes.

Speaking at the time Revenue Chairman Josephine Feehily said: “it is hugely significant that both Revenue authorities worked together to introduce a single marker which will enhance our ability to tackle this joint problem.

“This initiative builds on many years of collaboration with our colleagues in HMRC, particularly in Northern Ireland. “