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04 Dec 2021

Dumping was ‘a rotten, mean type of offence’ says Longford Circuit Court judge

Dumping was ‘a rotten, mean type of offence’ says Longford Circuit Court judge

Judge Keenan Johnson has given a man one final opportunity to clean up a site at Lisnanagh, Edgeworthstown, or face 12 months in prison.

James Gibson was previously jailed for what Judge Seamus Hughes said was “one of the worst” dumping cases he had ever seen.

Since then, Mr Gibson has appeared more than once before Judge Keenan Johnson at Longford Circuit Court and been warned to clean up the site and produce receipts from Mulleadys to prove that he had disposed of rubbish in a legal manner.

However, upon appearing at Longford Circuit Court last week, Mr Gibson had not managed to completely clear the site of rubbish.

Counsel for the defence Niall Gaffney explained that a number of other people had been dumping on the site at Lisnanagh and that Mr Gibson had not been able to remove all the waste.

He handed in three receipts from Mulleadys but said that Mr Gibson is “a man of very limited means and waste removal comes at some cost”.

“He doesn’t drive. He has epilepsy, so he cannot drive to the property,” said Mr Gaffney.

“He no longer resides there and the current situation reflects other people dumping on the site.”

Bernard Shea of Longford County Council, however, told the court that “there has been no additional dumping since we have begun prosecution”.

Mr Gaffney argued that a number of gardaí had informed Mr Gibson that other people had been dumping on the site.

“Given that difficulty and the significance of what he is trying to do, he’s asking for an opportunity to liaise with the council and remove the waste that’s already there,” he said.

Judge Johnson, examining a number of photographs acknowledged that “there does seem to be a set of bookshelves that weren’t there before”.

“This was a rotten, mean type of offence. Dumping is a complete blight on the landscape,” Judge Johnson fumed, noting that the District Court sentence of five months in prison was “lenient” for the seriousness of the offence.

“People can’t be running unofficial dumps. It’s outrageous. He’s done nothing to clear it up.”

Mr Gaffney, however, argued that, since that five month prison sentence, Mr Gibson had made “efforts” to clean up the site, and handed in two more receipts for rent to show where the majority of his social welfare income has been going.

“I’m giving him one final adjournment to January 12, 2022,” said Judge Johnson.

“That site is to be cleared completely by then or he’ll serve 12 months in prison.”

Mr Gaffney thanked Judge Johnson but hastened to add, “if evidence transpires that other individuals are dumping on the site, is he required to clear it?”

“He’s required to clear that site and if others are dumping, he can report it to the relevant authorities,” Judge Johnson replied.
“But the message needs to go out that anyone engaged in illicit dumping will be prosecuted.”

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