Longford pig farmer jailed and fined €3,000 for slurry ‘timebomb’

A pig farmer was jailed for 10 weeks and fined €3,000, after a judge labelled him ‘an absolute disgrace’ over his slurry storage, according to the Irish Independent.

The judgement from Judge Seamus Hughes was served on Longford pig farmer Donal Connaughton (55) for failing to prevent an environmental ‘timebomb’ that threatened local lakes.

The judge said Connaughton had acted ‘in a blackguardly fashion’ and had expected the authorities to clean up the environmental issues which were created at his farm.

Connaughton, of Elfleet, Newtowncashel was convicted at Longford District Court of causing or permitting effluent from massive tanks, containing four million gallons of slurry, to fall into a local lake last March.

According to the report, the prosecution was taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland. Judge Hughes jailed Connaughton for 10 weeks and fined him €3,000 with €5,400 costs.

Up to 25 tanks are located at the pig farm which covers 8,000sqm and the Independent says that many were unauthorised structures, and Connaughton had exacerbated the situation by only removing roofs following a demolition order granted to Longford County Council.

Senior Council Engineer Tom Murtagh said that up to 10 people were now working at the site and, to date, a quarter of a million of gallons of slurry and other matter had been removed from the tanks.

Defence solicitor Mark Connellan said that Connaughton had acknowledged that he had caused the slurry pollution problem at his farm. But it was “beyond his control” to deal with it as he was no longer in business there and was living on social welfare.

However, Judge Hughes said it was the worst case he had come across in terms of public mean-spiritedness. “He has created a monster that he’s now walking away from. I detect a satisfaction in him over this. He’ll take no responsibility.”

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