PROSECUTING Ward McEllin prosecuted the dumping case on behalf of Mayo County Council.
A 25-year-old man who charged people to dispose of their rubbish and then illegally dumped it said he was motivated by desperation for money.
Aaron Eaton of 95 Riverdale Court, Castlebar, appeared before Castlebar District Court on four charges of illegal dumping between May and August last year.
The court heard that the total clean up cost for the sites was €1,821.
Environmental Enforcement Officer with Mayo County Council, Liam Rabbitte, said illegal dumping at Tawnykinaffe, Ross, Castlebar, was detected on May 9. A couch, cardboard boxes and bags of waste were among the dumped items.
On inspecting the rubbish, an address for a householder in Westport was found. The housholder was contacted by Mr Rabitte. She told him she had paid Eaton €60 and a further €40 to dispose of waste. She had heard about his services through Facebook.
The second charge related to the disposal of waste in a bonfire at Carrowncurry (Rathbawn Grove), Castlebar, on June 23 last. Another customer of Eaton’s paid €80 for the disposal of this rubbish.
The third and fourth dumping offences related to the disposal of bags of rubbish at Cregganbrack and Roosky, Knock, and Reisk, Ballyhaunis.
At the third site, 34 bags of rubbish were discovered on the main road from Knock to Kiltimagh. The incident received a great deal of attention on Facebook, and a woman was falsely accused of being the perpetrator of the dumping, as her personal details had been found by a member of the public. Interviewed by the Council, the woman said she had paid Eaton €170 to remove waste.
Personal details of another person in Castlebar were found among waste at the fourth site in Reisk, Ballyhaunis. He too had contacted Eaton via Facebook to dispose of waste, paying him €60.
The court also heard that the previous March, Mayo County Council had become aware of rubbish being stored on a farm belonging to Mr Eaton’s grandfather in Knock. The following day, March 9, burning of rubbish took place.
The court was also told that before the incidents between May and August last year, Mr Eaton had been warned to remove his Facebook advertisement for waste removal, and on March 20 was asked to give an undertaking that he would not breach the Waste Management Act.
Defending solicitor Tom Walsh told the court that his client was awaiting an assessment from the HSE Adult Mental Health team, and he said alcohol featured in Eaton’s decision to commit the illegal activity.
Prosecuting solicitor Ward McEllin explained that the maximum penalties for dumping are €5,000 and/or a 12-month prison term.
The court was told that Mr Eaton had previously served seven-and-a-half months in St Patrick’s Institution and did not wish to go to prison.
Asked if he had an alcohol addiction, Mr Eaton replied that he had.
Judge Devins described illegal dumping as ‘deplorable’ and said she did not sympathise with those who paid Eaton to remove waste, saying, “If something looks too good to be true, it usually is.” The matter was adjourned to May 10.