CAUSING A STINK

A ROGUE refuse collection firm – that does not have a valid waste permit or planning permission – is operating in flagrant breach of the law five years after first being ordered to close down.

Based at an unauthorised facility hidden from public view on a Wexford farm, the operation has been repeatedly raided by council officials accompanied by gardaí.

Yet despite being the subject of numerous warning letters and enforcement notices the owners continue to operate with apparent impunity.

The business – currently called Maguire Skip Hire – is half owned by one-time all-Ireland handball champion Paddy Lennon. Mr Lennon is a farmer who owns the land in Killowen, Co. Wexford, upon which the unauthorised waste facility is situated.

The second owner is Arklow-based Dermot Ivers – a truck driver who once abandoned a lorry to flee a Garda checkpoint. Together the pair have been unlawfully operating waste businesses from a site near Arklow for at least five years. Neither Mr Lennon nor Mr Ivers live at the personal addresses they listed on annual returns for their firm.

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The business began as an unauthorised car dismantling and recycling operation before morphing into refuse collection under the Maguire Skip Hire brand name in 2011. Today Maguire Skip Hire is one of the busiest skip firms in the southeast, collecting waste throughout Wicklow and Wexford.
The firm is renowned locally for its humorous St Patrick’s Day parade displays. This year, for example, Mr Ivers sat in a bathtub of suds atop a skip filled with rubbish as the parade passed through villages and towns. The display won the most wacky float prize award at Mr Lennon’s hometown parade in Coolgreany.

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But behind the scenes virtually everything about Maguire Skip Hire is unlawful. The rubbish collected by the firm is sorted on Mr Lennon’s farm where machinery frequently operates late into the evening.

Covert CCTV video surveillance installed by Wexford County Council in 2015 recorded ‘trucks labelled Maguire Skip Hire… loaded with waste entering the unauthorised site’. Mr Lennon was seen driving an untaxed skip loader lorry that had no road worthiness certificate.

Not for the first time, warning letters and enforcement notices were issued giving the owners six weeks to cease operating or face legal action. But no legal action ensued.

A year later, when angry residents approached the Irish Mail on Sunday, nothing had changed, with fully loaded skips and waste trucks going to and from the site late into the evening and at weekends.

Prompted by the MoS, one of the residents submitted a Freedom of Information request seeking the enforcement file to include details of inspections and CCTV footage recorded by council investigators.

The council refused to release this material on the basis that proceedings against Maguire Skip Hire were in train.

Denied access to council files and CCTV footage, the MoS tried to collect independent evidence. Covert video and picture evidence gathered by this newspaper since June shows large volumes of waste being delivered to and sorted at the facility, with both Mr Ivers and Mr Lennon present. Several unused waste trucks on site had Northern Irish registration numbers. Our images also show Mr Lennon operating a large excavator.

Maguire Skip Hire has never possessed a valid waste collection permit. Mr Ivers does possess waste collection permits for Wicklow and Wexford – but they cannot be used for Maguire Skip Hire or any other firm. When approached by the MoS, Mr Lennon appeared unfazed.

‘Did someone say it was unauthorised, did they?’ he asked. ‘Well we’re working there since 1990.’ When asked about not having a waste permit, Mr Lennon said: ‘They don’t pull you up over that. We wouldn’t be the only one at that. Dermot has a yoke, all right. Our accountant did tell us that eventually we would have to get it in Maguire.’

Mr Lennon said he had a person ‘dealing with the planner to put in planning permission’. ‘The application was to go in in July but it hasn’t gone in yet. There’d be no point in putting it in unless you get a sense of getting it. Up to now it wasn’t going to go through – it was big money to get it and that’s it.’ A week after the MoS spoke to Mr Lennon a notice of intention to seek planning permission in the name of Maguire Skip Hire was erected for the first time at the facility entrance. It has been replaced by notices carrying different dates. Identical notices have been published in local newspapers but, so far, no planning application has been received.

A waste permit review in the name of Maguire Skip Hire was submitted in July and is being considered. The review was sparked when the original permit held by Dermot Ivers since 2007 was revoked in May after he failed to respond to correspondence.

In response to questions from the MoS about why the council had never taken legal action against Mr Lennon and Mr Ivers, a council spokesman refused to comment as he said ‘legal proceedings are in preparation’.

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