THE Revenue and Department for the Environment are closing in on diesel laundering criminals.
Mr Frank Pentony, told a meeting of Louth County Council, that Revenue, Customs, and Department officials have been given increased powers to deal with the environmental and economic scourage and “we could see chages by the middle of the year”, he said.
“The council has also met with Revenue and Customs and they assured us these new powers they have will work.
“The people they are dealing with are professionals and it is always going to be a battle, but we should see a difference by the middle of the year.”
Mr Pentony was reporting to the council on a meeting with Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes.
The meeting was also attended by Cllrs Jim Lennon and Martin Murnaghan.
Cllr Tomas Sharkey said he had raised this huge problem at the January meeting of the council and he asked the councillors to support his motion.
He said illegal laundering of diesel is damaging to public safety, to the environment and to the public finances.
All councillors supported the motion and called for a crack-down on this criminal practice.
Cllr Declan Breathnach said the rise in fuel costs only encouraged this criminal activity.
In January 48,000 litres of toxic diesel sludge was found dumped on the M1 motorway.
This was just one incident of toxic sludge being abandoned near the border as a result of illegal diesel laundering.
Twelve per cent of all diesel in this country is sold illegally.
The main problem is how to stop criminals buying agricultural fuel at a lower cost, laundering it, and selling it on as motor fuel for a profit.
The problem that has spiralled to unprecendented levels over the past few years.
Astonishingly, the rate of dumping in 2011 rose by a massive 3,600 per cent in the space of just two years.
In 2009 27 tonnes were found in Louth while in 2010 that rose to 220 tonnes, while last year a staggering 989 tonnes were dumped.
Expenditure by Louth County Council in the first thirteen days of the New Year in dealing with this issue now stands at approx €70,000.
The council has welcomed reports and encouraged the general public to report any suspicious activities to the gardai or report matters to the council.