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Alleged Pollution by "Foul and Noxious Matter": Co. Limerick Farmer's Legal Battle Unveiled |

Alleged Pollution by “Foul and Noxious Matter”: Co. Limerick Farmer’s Legal Battle Unveiled

In a legal showdown before the Chancery Division, the case of Chas. O’Shaughnessy versus the Ardagh Co-operative Dairy Society, Ltd., unfolded today. Charles O’Shaughnessy, a farmer from Ballynacally, Co. Limerick, alleges damage caused by the discharge of foul and noxious matter from the defendant’s creamery into a stream traversing his lands. The plaintiff, owner, and occupier of the affected lands, seeks damages and an injunction.

According to the plaintiff’s statement of claim, dating back to 1878, he has held the entitlement to use the stream for cattle watering and other agricultural purposes. The creamery, situated upstream from the plaintiff’s lands, has allegedly been releasing offensive washings into the stream, causing harm to O’Shaughnessy’s cattle and impeding the free use of water for other farming needs.

In their defence, the Ardagh Co-operative Dairy Society, Ltd., contends that in 1901, O’Shaughnessy entered into an agreement allowing the discharge from the creamery to be used for irrigation and fertilization of his land. A pipeline was constructed for this purpose, and the agreement stipulated a payment of £20 per year to O’Shaughnessy. However, the plaintiff refused to formalize the agreement unless he was paid the requested sum. Subsequently, the defendants reached an arrangement with Mary Magner, owner of adjoining lands, to permit the discharge onto her property.

The defence asserts that this arrangement with Magner persisted even after the lands were sold in 1911, with the creamery matter being effectively absorbed by the Magner lands. They argue that the action brought by O’Shaughnessy is unfounded, oppressive, and vexatious, as the sewage discharge has been beneficially utilized for irrigation and fertilization on the Magner lands.

It is claimed that in 1911, an act of vandalism resulted in the breaking of the iron door and lock at the end of the piping on the Magner lands, causing the creamery matter to deviate from its usual course. It flowed along a ditch until stopped by a double fence dividing the lands of Magner from those of O’Shaughnessy. The defence contends that it was only at this point that O’Shaughnessy raised any complaint regarding the sewage.

Counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Herbert Wilson, K.C., emphasized that his client had sought a mutually agreeable solution to address the issue of sewage discharge, allowing the creamery to continue its operations without causing harm. However, with no satisfactory resolution in sight, O’Shaughnessy felt compelled to take legal action to protect his rights.

The court proceedings, led by Mr Wilson, K.C., and Mr P. D. Fleming, K.C., for the plaintiff, and Mr Sergeant Matheson, Mr Sergeant Sullivan, and Mr Patrick Kelly for the defendants, are ongoing. The defence maintains that the discharge from the creamery has been effectively managed on the Magner lands, rendering the legal action baseless.

This case sheds light on the delicate balance between agricultural practices and environmental concerns, underscoring the intricacies of water management and the potential impact on neighbouring lands. As the legal proceedings unfold, the court will be tasked with determining the validity of O’Shaughnessy’s claims and the adequacy of the measures taken by the defendants to address the alleged pollution.

Evening Herald (Dublin) – Wednesday 03 December 1913

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