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News 259 views last update:7 Aug 2012

Cases against 'dioxin' firm postponed

A number of legal actions against a Co Wexford company in Ireland over allegedly supplying animal feed containing harmful dioxins have been deferred by the Commercial Court until July.

This will give parties the chance of putting in place of a scheme of arrangement between the company and creditors arising out of the contamination.
 
However, Millstream Recyling Ltd’s own action is to proceed against a businessman and a company over allegedly supplying it with recycled 40-year-old fuel oil which in turn allegedly contaminated the feed.
 
Pork recall
The contamination in December 2008 resulted in a recall of all Irish pork products after pig meat on a number of farms was found to have had between 80 and 200 times more dioxins that the recognised safety limit.
 
Many animals were slaughtered and compensation costs for Ireland alone are estimated at more than €180 million.
 
If Millstream succeeds in its claims against Gerard Tierney and Newtown Lodge Ltd, any money secured in that case will be added to some €6.5 million insurance money to be made available to claimants against Millstream.
 
Millstream claims light fuel oil purchased in Northern Ireland and supplied to it by the defendants contained dioxins banned since the 1970s.
 
“Criminal behaviour”
The presence of those substances was consistent “with reckless and perhaps criminal behaviour”, Millstream director Robert Hogg has said in an affidavit.
 
An extensive Garda investigation was continuing in relation to Tierney and his contacts from the North of Ireland, he added.
 
Justice Peter Kelly said it was inevitable a number of actions listed against Millstream would have to be stayed until July given a High Court decision by Justice Mary Laffoy last month allowing Millstream court protection so it could proceed with processing its proposed scheme of arrangement.
 
Millstream, which is being sued for some €32 million in some 18 actions, has claimed the feed was grossly contaminated by recycled fuel oil allegedly supplied by Tierney’s companies.
 
Millstream is seeking €36 million from those parties to cover its own losses, plus the claims against it.

Dick Ziggers

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