€100,000 for oil contamination investigator who got ‘not a single cent’ from petrol station settlement

Couple who got €500,000 settlement in 2008 must pay sum to specialist who investigated petrol station

The High Court has given judgment of €100,000 in favour of a specialist investigator who helped a couple achieve a €500,000 litigation settlement in 2008 over alleged contamination of their home by a nearby petrol station.

Mr Justice Cian Ferriter gave the judgment against Carmel Bradley, who along with her late husband John Bradley, paid “not a single cent” to plaintiff Microclean Environmental Ltd in the 15 years since they reached the settlement with Texaco Ireland.

Mr Bradley died in 2010. Ms Bradley, who has suffered with dementia, was represented in Microclean’s action by her court-appointed guardian, adult daughter Kieva Bradley. Her counsel was instructed by the Legal Aid Board.

Setting out the background to the case, Mr Justice Ferriter said Mr and Ms Bradley’s former home on Newry Road, Dundalk, Co Louth, was next to a Texaco petrol station operated by Eamon Bishop & Sons Ltd.


By the mid-1990s, the Bradleys were experiencing fumes and other effects of oil contamination in their home, which they suspected was caused by contamination from the service station, the judge said.

Microclean, which is wholly owned by Gerry McDonnell, did a large amount of investigative work between 1995 and 2007 on a “no foal, no fee” basis, he said.

Mr McDonnell, a specialist in investigating and remediating hydrocarbon contamination, including from oil and diesel, was engaged under a 1997 agreement to assist with the couple’s litigation, which was being taken alongside similar actions by five neighbours.

The €500,000 settlement, plus €45,000 for Kieva Bradley, enabled the Bradleys to purchase a new home and have €250,000 left over.

Microclean’s claim was for €80,000 plus interest.

In her defence, Carmel Bradley claimed the 1997 agreement was between the Bradleys and Mr McDonnell personally, so his company was not entitled to the sum claimed. She also said the action was statute barred and not properly substantiated.

Mr McDonnell said he signed the agreement on behalf of the firm and not in a personal capacity.

Mr Justice Ferriter ruled the Bradleys were liable under the 1997 agreement to pay Microclean for its work. The claim, he found, was not statute barred.

Microclean was entitled to a sum of €69,400 for its work, plus €30,500 in interest, said the judge. He gave judgment against Carmel Bradley of €100,000.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter