Case involving Wicklow dump may go to Europe

On the 50th day of Brownfield case, judge says it may be referred to European Court

Trial has heard claims that work at the dump since 2009 is inadequate

Trial has heard claims that work at the dump since 2009 is inadequate


A High Court judge has raised the possibility that the long running case between Wicklow County Council and Brownfield Restoration (Ireland) Ltd could be referred directly to the European Court of Justice.

In court on Tuesday, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys asked counsel for both parties – James Connolly SC for Wicklow and Peter Bland SC, together with Michael O’Donnell for Brownfield – whether European law impinged on issues at the heart of the case and whether time might be saved by referring those to the European Court.

All sides are to consider this possibility.

Yesterday was the 50th day of the case, when the current and previously stalled proceedings are added together. In the current proceedings, Brownfield is suing the council claiming that alleged remediation works the council says it did to Ireland’s largest illegal dump, now owned by the company, are deficient in both domestic and European law.

Specifically, the company asserts the council is in breach of European Union water and waste directives.

The trial has heard claims that work at the dump since 2009 is inadequate.

The council says it remediated the dump and made it legally compliant but Brownfield says that inspections, including holes bored 14m into it, have revealed waste, which includes domestic, industrial and hospital waste, is lying in water. The dump also contains asbestos, the court has heard.

Yesterday, Mr O’Donnell said that waste was lying in water and that it, together with water running off the dump, was entering the surrounding water system untreated. In a properly remediated dump, this would not happen, he said.

The situation at the illegal dump, which is in Whitestown near Baltinglass, was in breach of the EU water and waste directives.

The case continues.