Recycling firm in pig feed scare to sue oil supplier

 

THE CO Wexford recycling company at the centre of the animal feed contamination scare which forced the recall of Irish pork products from shops and export markets yesterday successfully applied to the High Court to open a case against the suppliers of oil mixed with the pig feed which turned out to be old fuel oil.

The contamination last year forced the recall of Irish pork products from shops and supermarkets at home and international export markets.

Millstream Recycling Ltd, which is itself being sued in separate proceedings for €32 million by various parties for supplying animal feed containing harmful dioxins, has claimed the feed was grossly contaminated by recycled 40-year-old fuel oil allegedly supplied by a businessman and another company unlicensed to deal in mineral oils.

Millstream Recycling Ltd is suing Gerard Tierney and Newtown Lodge Ltd for €36 million to cover Millstream’s own €4 million losses resulting from the dioxin controversy plus the €32 million claims against it.

Millstream claims light fuel oil purchased in Northern Ireland and supplied to it by the defendants contained dioxins banned since the 1970s. The presence of those substances was consistent “with reckless and perhaps criminal behaviour”, said Millstream director Robert Hogg.

He added that an extensive Garda investigation was continuing in relation to Mr Tierney and his contacts from the North.

The contamination in December 2008 resulted in a recall of all Irish pork products after pig meat on several farms was found to have between 80 and 200 times more dioxins than the recognised safety limit. Many animals were slaughtered, and compensation costs for Ireland alone are estimated at €180 million.

Millstream, of Clohamon Mills, Bunclody, Co Wexford, which is facing 18 court claims, yesterday applied to the Commercial Court to admit its action against Mr Tierney, of The Paddocks, Selandia, Newtown Park Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, and Newtown Lodge Ltd, with registered offices at Philipsburgh Avenue, Fairview, Dublin, of which Mr Tierney is a director.

Mr Hogg said because of the contamination Millstream lost most of its customers but had since managed to salvage most of its business. He said with insurance cover extending to a maximum €6.5 million, Millstream was in separate proceedings proposing a scheme of arrangement which would result in that €6.5 million being divided between those who have brought proceedings against Millstream and would also involve a stay on legal actions against it.

Yesterday, on the application of Stephen Lanigan O’Keeffe, for Millstream, Mr Justice Peter Kelly admitted the action against Mr Tierney and Newtown to the Commercial Court.

Counsel said Millstream’s own losses as a result of the defective oil were more than €4 million, while claims against it to date totalled more than €32 million.

He said Millstream could not bring the case until it had a full and frank explanation concerning the oil which “must have been 40 years old”.