NI Company ordered to pay £32million damages over Irish pork dioxin contamination

The BBC reports that the High Court in Dublin has ordered the Northern Ireland based company, O’Neill Fuels Ltd, Coalisland, County Tyrone, to pay Millstream Power Recycling Ltd, Bunclody, County Wexford, €38.7million (£32m) damages as a result of the Irish pork dioxin contamination in 2008.

From the BBC report

Millstream supplied the pig meal containing dioxins that led to the recall of Irish pork products.

It was ordered after pig meal on a number of farms was found to have had between 80 and 200 times more dioxins than the recognised safety limit.

The oil that Millstream used had not been tested for dioxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls, (PCBs) because these had been banned in the 1970s, the company said.

O’Neill Fuels from Annaghmore Hill, Coalisland, had denied that any fuel supplied by it contained dioxins or PCBs.

In the High Court in Dublin, earlier this month, the judge struck out the case as O’Neill Fuels had not entered a defence.

Speaking after the damages were awarded, Millstream director Doreen Hogg said her family felt relieved that they had been vindicated.

Adds  Some additional information from a 7 December Irish Times report

Millstream, Clohamon Mills, Bunclody, has claimed the PCBs were contained in oil purchased by it for use in the feed manufacturing process.

It has sued Gerard Tierney, Newtown Park Avenue, Blackrock, and his firm, Newtown Lodge Ltd, Fairview, Dublin, alleging they supplied it with defective oil which contaminated feed with dioxins.

Mr Tierney and Newtown have denied the oil supplied to Millstream was defective. Alternatively, they plead, if the oil was contaminated, it was not their fault as, they allege, it was supplied to them by O’Neill Fuels Ltd, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, which was joined as a third party to the case. O’Neill’s had denied any fuel it provided contained dioxins or PCBs.

Yesterday, Stephen Lanigan O’Keeffe, for Millstream, asked Mr Justice Kelly for an order striking out O’Neill’s defence on grounds of its failure to comply with discovery orders. Mr Justice Kelly said Millstream was entitled to such an order. The action will proceed against O’Neill’s on an undefended basis and damages will be assessed on December 21st.

The action against Mr Tierney and Newtown will proceed on March 15th.

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  • Cynic2

    So if there were dioxins in this fuel

    1 how did they get there?

    2 what other products were they in and where else may they have migrated to?

    3 what have our ‘leaders’ at Stormont done about it?

    Has anyone on the Hill even bothered to ask?

  • It is rather vexing that a high profile enquiry, which obviously drew upon reports from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Genesis of the problem (dodgy fuel from a Northern Ireland Company) does not appear to have been identified.

    However, it is best to remain circumspect for the moment. Why on earth did O’Neill Fuels Ltd allow themselves to be in breach of a discovery order? That is a question for their legal representatives. It is just possible that they have been at fault.

  • Sorry, the word “following” should go between the words “that” and “a” on the first line.

  • Cynic2

    I agree that noone should jump to conclusions here. It also appears from media reports that – allegedly – they failed to file a defence

    But the dioxins came from somewhere. So where?

    My point is that in the North no-one seems to give a bugger….or am i missing something?

    And IF they were in this batch of oil, what about others?

  • Frame

    They are hardly likely to have the money to pay up.

  • Comrade Stalin

    On Wikipedia it’s revealed that the contamination occurred because the animal feed was being dried in a burner. Aside from the dioxins, it’s slightly disturbing that animal feed is dried while being exposed to fumes from burning fuel oil. I’d have thought some sort of heat exchanger would have been more appropriate.

    It’s intriguing that it evidently wasn’t possible to trace how the dioxins ended up in the fuel. An illegally dumped drum which was subsequently reused to store oil ?