Aontú activist, Peter Whelan, has encouraged Meath County Council to treat an application from the Dawn Meats processing plant in Beauparc, for an upgrade in their water treatment plant, ‘with caution, to ensure that repeats of a previous problem don’t arise again.

In 2016 the company, then trading as Dunbia, was fined  €5k for failing to notify the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), about an accidental discharge of sludge from the plant.

The fines were issued at Navan district court, and it heard that local residents described the discharge as a pungent red effluent that went into a local stream.

Now Whelan has advised that the new application should be scrutinized closely.

He told Meath Live, ‘ The application is for a 7.2km pipeline directly into the Boyne at the Cottonmills, and I suspect what lies behind this is commercial cost cutting, at the moment the sludge from the company is transported by lorry to a waste plant in Ringsend, the new plan will eradicate the cost of that.

‘When the original licence was granted the EPA accepted there could be an accidental discharge and when there was one they were not informed, the fear of locals, and it is a concern I would completely agree with, is if there is an accidental discharge will the EPA be informed this time.

‘There is apparently a mantra used by planning ‘ the solution to pollution is dilution, but what happens if the sewage is not diluted and ends up in the river.

‘I’m prepared to engage with Dawn Meats over this and I’ll be asking serious questions of them, and people should be aware that they have up until April 8th to make submissions to the council over the application.’