Communities and school children targeted in latest toxic dumping spree

September 25, 2012

By Christine Keighery

The scourge of illicit fuel laundering waste being indiscriminately dumped took on a sinister twist last week with the reckless dumping of five diesel pods in the car park of a Keady primary school.

Clea Primary School became the latest target for fuel launderers who abandoned the toxic sludge overnight last Tuesday.  Local parents and residents were horrified to discover tanks leaking toxic fuel waste in the vicinity of the school.

The shocking incident is the latest in a spate of fuel waste dumping that has plagued the area in recent weeks.  In a separate incident last week, a forty foot lorry containing nine cubes of fuel waste was also discovered at Ford’s Cross, Silverbridge.

Commenting on the find at Clea Primary School, SDLP Councillor, Thomas O’Hanlon described the scene as “a horrible sight” with foul smelling sludge spilling along the road.

Councillor O’Hanlon, who is also a member of the Board of Governors at Clea Primary School, condemned those responsible and said local residents and parents of the school children were extremely angry.

He said,

“This is just the latest, yet probably the most sinister dumping incident in this area.  In the last ten days we have had over twenty cubes dumped in the wider Keady/ Derrynoose area and local residents are sick, sore and tired of this area being used as some form of dumping ground for fuel laundering idiots.”

Mr O’Hanlon said tanks were dumped in three separate locations last weekend by criminals who, he believes, were fearful of recent fuel laundering raids in the area.

“The incidents in recent weeks have disrupted farmers who couldn’t access their lands because of these pods.  They have been dumped at beauty local spots and now they have targeted the staff parking area outside a rural primary school.

“This is in stark contrast to the excellent environmental and conservation work which the pupils are doing in the school, for which they have won awards.”

The Councillor admitted the cost of cleaning up “after these mindless thugs” was mounting, between the council and the environment agency, and revealed that Armagh council had already spent in excess of £50,000 disposing of fuel waste this year.

“A greater focus must now be put on stopping these activities on a cross border and

multi-agency basis and catching those responsible for this crime against our communities.”

His sentiments were echoed by Keady Councillor, Darren McNally, who hit out at fuel launderers for putting school children at risk by discarding fuel waste outside a primary school.

The Sinn Féin representative said;

“This is a despicable act and shows total disregard for the health and safety of the young people of the area.

“I have spoken to many people in the area who are totally sickened by this act, the latest in a long line of incidents involving the by-products of fuel laundering.

“Once again, I appeal to those involved to stop and show some consideration for local residents.”

Police in Armagh launched an appeal for information following the incident asking for anyone who witnessed the pods being left there or who has any information to contact police at Armagh on 0845 600 8000.

Sinn Féin’s Colman Burns hit out at those involved in the illegal fuel trade following the Fords Cross discovery.

“This is an audacious act which has angered the local community once again.  It seems that a week can’t go by without the discovery of this sludge dumped somewhere in the district.

“This latest act is most brazen due to the quantity of material found and the fact that it was discarded along the side of one of the busiest roads in south Armagh.

“I have spoken to Council officials who are arranging the removal of this waste with the NI Environment Agency, however this process could take up to a week.

“The cost of removing and treating this material will run into thousands of pounds – money which could be much better spent elsewhere.”