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EIRE-SORE; Ireland blasted by EU judges over its poor waste disposal.

Byline: By GEOFF MEADE

IRELAND was branded the dirty man of Europe yesterday and convicted of breaching EU environment rules.

Dublin was slammed by European Court judges for failing to control waste management under laws first introduced 30 years ago.

The case was triggered by a series of complaints from Irish citizens to the European Commission between 1997 and 2000.

They centred on dozens of examples of alleged poor waste disposal from Dublin and Limerick to Waterford and Fermoy, Co Cork.

The Commission joined the complaints into one legal action and told the judges during last year's hearing that the breaches involved a failure to ensure a "seamless chain of responsibility for waste", as intended by the rules.

Its lawyers said Irish authorities had not ensured proper registration and licensing of waste disposal.

And the Commission reserved the right to cite further non-compliance, including 96 cases of large-scale dumping of waste in Co Wicklow, as evidence of an "underlying pattern" of breaches.

Ireland hotly contested the claims, but yesterday's judgment backed the Commission declaring the Irish Government had "tolerated" unauthorised waste management activities in numerous places over long periods. The key part of the EU waste rules demands governments "take the necessary measures to ensure that waste" is processed without endangering human health or harm to the environment.

Earlier this month Ireland's stinking sewage plants landed the Government in court after the EU threatened to sue over the stench.

The smell, which breaks European health and environment laws, was branded an "environmental disaster".

The Government could end up in the European Court of Justice for not banishing odours, particularly at the country's biggest sewage works at Ringsend, Dublin.

One worker at the Celtic Anglian- owned plant said: "It's revolting when the sewage is not flowing quickly enough.

"If human waste stagnates, fumes are released and our workers just have to cope with it."

Labour's Environment spokesman Eamon Gilmore added: "We have one of the worst records for implementing EU directives.

"We call ourselves a 'clean' country yet it does nothing for our reputation that Ireland is regularly in the dock for these failures.

"If Environment Minister Dick Roche fails to deal with EU directives, we could suffer irreparable damage."

CAPTION(S):

DISGRACE: Ireland has been blasted for rubbish management; DUMPED ON: State flouts waste laws
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 27, 2005
Words:385
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