Clubs to share out €1 million – for living with landfill

WINDFALL . . . Cllr Michael Finnerty at the landfill site in Kilconnell. Photo: Gerry Stronge.

The stench from an East Galway dump has been replaced by the sweet smell of funding success – with local groups and sporting organisations are to benefit to the tune of almost €1 million for living with the landfill.

Galway County Council took over the operation of the landfill site in Kilconnell, near Ballinasloe, and agreed to take in 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three year period which will cease this coming June.

From the charges imposed on taking this waste, the Council agreed to allocate €3 per ton to organisations within a five kilometre radius of site – meaning that they will avail of a windfall to the tune of €900,000.

It is understood that community groups and GAA clubs will share the funding – some of them will receive a six figure sum. Areas such as Kilconnell itself, Cappataggle and New Inn will reap these rewards.

A discussion took place prior to the scheduled meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council at which the successful applicants for funding were revealed to Council officials and the amounts they would be receiving.

A sub-committee made up of Cllr Aidan Donohue, Cllr Timmy Broderick and Cllr Dermot Connolly was established to decide how this windfall would be spent and who would be the beneficiaries from within the five kilometre radius.

Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site following the liquidation of the former operators Greenstar.

The Council agreed to accept 300,000 tons of municipal waste over a three year period and this will come to an end in June after which the dump will be capped and then closed the following year.

Director of Services Jim Cullen informed a previous meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council that following the closure of the dump, there would be long term care of the site to ensure that there would be no adverse environmental issues.

When Galway County Council took over the running of the landfill site, an allocation of €300,000 was provided by the Department of the Environment for local projects.

Of this, €120,000 was given to the area engineer to spend at his discretion and the remaining €180,000 has been dispersed equally among the six Ballinasloe councillors – resulting in each getting €30,000 to spend on projects in their area.

For years, the dump in Kilconnell caused annoyance for local residents because of the smells emanating from the site and many householders say that it is still a major problem.

Residents were forced to keep their windows closed depending on the direction of the wind while many complained that their proximity to the dump adversely affected the value of their properties.

At the same meeting Cllr Michael Finnerty warned about the possibility of a run-off of leachate – a liquid that drains from landfill sites that can cause pollution – from the dump into the future.

He said that he attended a meeting in Ballinasloe at which residents expressed concern about a leachate run-off from the old dump in Poolboy which has been closed down for years.

The organisations that will benefit from the dump money will be revealed at next month’s meeting of Ballinasloe Municipal Council.