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Siblings Maura and Padraig O Grady outside their home at Ballyglassane, Crusheen. Photograph by John Kelly

Family ‘let down’ by State agencies as fuel firm drives on

MEMBERS of a Crusheen family who have suffered “unexplained medical issues” have been let down by Clare County Council and other agencies, a North Clare civil engineer has claimed.

Michael Duffy has made a Section Five referral to Clare County Council, which in turn referred it to An Bord Pleanála concerning Burrenside Oil on behalf of Maire O’Grady, Ballygassane, Crusheen.

First established in October 2001, Burrenside Oil has been servicing domestic oil customers, the agricultural sector and the commercial industry in Clare and surrounding areas with its “low cost, efficient and friendly service ever since”.

The company website also states it supplies fuel to more than 10,000 homes, delivering to all of Clare, Galway and Limerick.

Their services include supply of home heating oil, agricultural fuels, commercial fuels, lubricants and oil tanks.

Mr Duffy has alleged that Padraig and Maire O’Grady have been short changed by Clare County Council, the EPA and the HSE after they raised serious environmental concerns.

In his submission, Mr Duffy stated the subject site is in close proximity to a passing stream, which flows to an adjacent lake.

The site is also located within the Slieve Aughty Mountains Special Protection Site.

Mr Duffy stated there was no environmental impact assessment or appropriate assessment carried out concerning any of the development including the recent works on the site.

“It is unconscionable that such a business was be allowed to operated without any proper oversight.”

Among the shortcomings he pointed out was there is no Section Four water discharge licence for this business premises and he asked where is the “unauthorised interceptor” discharging to?

He stated Burrenside Oil (BO), which has no planning permission for this business, is located about 45 metres from the applicant’s home and potable water well.

“BO has no Environmental Impact Assessment, Natura Impact Statement, Section Four Waste Licence, Fire Certificate or Building Commencement Notice. They have been selling diesel, petrol and kerosene without a dangerous substance licence.” Members of the public also visit the site to fuel cars, vans, jeeps and tractors.”

He stated that an independent company who took water samples for the O’Gradys in July 2021 found the presence of 170 ug/l total petroleum hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic.

Mr Duffy claimed the company installed an interceptor tank on October 2, 2020 without planning permission. He said a waste licence is required to discharge waste from an oil depot under the Water Pollution Act 1977.

He said planning permission for an interceptor tank would require an EIS and NIS.

He said a number of loads of concrete were poured over the base of the site in the Autumn of 2020 following the applicant’s complaint to the council.

“Prior to this, there was mud, gravel, and grass on the base of the site. Oil spills percolated into the ground impacting on groundwater and surface water. There are no drip trays present on site or any provisions for dealing with spills.

“In order to sell petrol a vaporiser is needed. They do not have a vaporiser. They have no vaporisers in the plan for the site for the Dangerous Substance Licence Application.

“Tank capacity is 159,000 litres. This exceeds 3,500 litres therefore it requires planning permission.

“The weight of fuel tankers going back and forth is causing the road to split and this needs to be resurfaced every year. This has cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of Euro over the past 20 years.

“Burrenside Oil are supplying large volumes of oil over a wide area from this unauthorised depot. Bunding walls and the concrete base of the bunding are still not completed. This leads to spills going into the ground and groundwater. This bunding did not have planning permission, EIS or NIS.

“Under certain weather conditions oil vapours from the facility are overwhelming around the applicant’s home particularly when trucks are loading and unloading. These vapours can be sensed within the applicant’s home during the night when deliveries are being carried out.

Building Control have no record of a commencement notices being submitted for this facility or no record of a Fire Safety Certificate, according to records released by the council.

In response to the O’Grady’s solicitor, a council engineer stated if they had health concerns they should contact a health care professional.

On September 15, 2020, the O’Gradys were told by a council engineer the authority doesn’t test water and they would have to get the water tested themselves.

In response to Mr Duffy’s submission, Danny Liddy of Burrenside Oil stated, “An Bord Pleanála has to make a decision.”

Clare County Council stated it received this Section Five Determination Application last September and referred it to the appeals’ board a month later.

“As this referral remains under consideration by An Bord Pleanála it would not be appropriate for the council to make any comments regarding any of the specific issues being raised.”

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