Dairy co-op pleads guilty to river pollution incident

North Cork Creameries Cooperative Ltd was ordered to make a payment of €7,500 to a local angling club and cover costs and expenses to the amount of €2,654 after pleading guilty to charges in relation to a river pollution incident last year.

The co-op received the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act following a guilty plea on two charges under fisheries and local government legislation at a sitting of Mallow District Court last Tuesday, September 17.

The charges followed an investigation by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in relation to a pollution incident, which occurred on the River Allow at Kanturk, Co. Cork, during August 2018.

The court heard that the pollution resulted from a milk spillage during a tanker loading process at the company’s production facility in Kanturk, which then discharged to the river.

Judge Brian Sheridan granted probation after hearing evidence that the defendant company had made a significant investment to upgrade their facilities in recent years and that a conviction would have a detrimental effect on the company’s well-being.

The court awarded €2,654 for costs and expenses to Inland Fisheries Ireland and ordered the co-operative to make a payment of €7,500 to the local angling club.

According to the inland fisheries service, North Cork Creameries Co-operative had been successfully prosecuted by the IFI in the Circuit Court in 2012 for similar offences.

It also received the benefit of the Probation Act in the District Court in 2018, following a prosecution by Cork County Council under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act, the IFI said.

Commenting on the case, IFI senior fisheries environmental officer, Andrew Gillespie, said:

“Protection of fish stocks is vital to maintaining an extremely valuable natural resource for the benefit of local and tourist anglers alike.

“The River Allow and its tributaries are a prized recreational angling resource with much of the catchment soon to benefit from the locally managed and government-funded ‘Duhallow Farming for Blue Dot Catchments’ project,” he added.

The project aims to improve the river water quality and biodiversity via the implementation of beneficial measures by farmers and landowners.

Members of the public can report instances of illegal fishing, water pollution of invasive species by calling Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential hotline number on: 1890-347424; or: 1890 FISH 24.