A man has been jailed for five months for dumping, after he failed to comply with court orders to have his site cleaned up.
James Gibson, Lisnanagh, Edgeworthstown, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes at a sitting of Longford District Court in March of this year, charged with burning rubbish and allowing others to dump rubbish at his property.
At the time, Judge Hughes was furnished with photographs of the property, showing the extent of the dumping.
Bernard Shea of Longford County Council, on that day, explained to the judge that the council was eager to get the site cleaned up, as it had been in a bad way since before it was brought to their attention on August 14, 2019.
“This is persistent, despite council efforts to get the site cleared up. We’ve been ignored,” Mr Shea told the court in March.
When asked his opinion, Mr Shea stressed to the judge the importance of getting the site cleaned up, expressing the council’s concern that it be cleaned up in an appropriate manner.
“But wouldn’t you rather he do the work?” Judge Hughes asked.
“As long as it was disposed of properly,” said Mr Shea.
Judge Hughes finalised the issue by ordering Mr Gibson to have the site cleaned up by his next court appearance on May 26, warning that inspections would be carried out.
“You’re to dispose of the waste only with Mulleadys. You have to have all receipts with you when you come back to court. I want to see how much it costs,” said Judge Hughes.
However, when Mr Gibson reappeared at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court, his solicitor, John Quinn, explained that, due to Covid-19 restrictions, nothing had been done to clean up the site.
“Lockdown has seriously interfered with his ability to do anything,” said Mr Quinn, requesting that the court give his client until September to clean up his site.
“You’re not on the same track as what I’m thinking,” said an irate Judge Hughes.
“Can you give him a date in September?” Mr Quinn asked.
“No,” replied Judge Hughes, “I’m giving him a prison sentence.”
This case was first listed almost a year ago, he noted, but Mr Gibson had “left that vermin-ridden site in that state”.
“The court will support the officials in Longford County Council in trying to keep this county clean,” Judge Hughes continued.
“That is one of the worst cases of dumping I’ve seen. I’m giving him five months in prison,” he concluded.