July 22, 2009
The company in Ireland alleged to have produced animal feed with dioxins that caused last December's pork crisis is expected to face legal claims for well in excess of the maximum of 6.5 million euros or US$9.23 million its insurers will cover.
The Commercial Court said that pending investigations that have pointed to Millstream Recycling Ltd, of Bunclody, Co Wexford, the company will be able to deliver its defence to the claims against it by the end of this month.
Counsel for the company said potential claimants should be aware the firm was subject to an indemnity for a maximum 6.5 million euros and it was anticipated claims would well exceed that amount.
Millstream previously stated it would not admit responsibilities to the incident and was advised there were various unresolved issues in relation to the cause of the contamination.
It added that it was awaiting completion of the various investigations before it could properly assess whether to join other parties to the action.
Justice Peter Kelly, who dealt yesterday with procedural matters in two actions against Millstream, noted the barrister's remarks.
The investigations into the course of the alleged contamination were carried out by the gardai and Police Service of Northern Ireland among others.
Among those suing the company are two Northern Ireland farmers.
Damian Conlon and his company, DC Cattle Ltd, of Newry Road, Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, are seeking 2.6 million euros damages after 1,512 cattle were destroyed. Tests on some animals showed unacceptably high levels of dioxins were present.
Conlon said that between May and October 2008, Millstream factory supplied him with biscuit meal feed which had increased levels of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls. He said he understood oil used in the creation of the biscuit meal feed sold to him was the source of the contamination.
In another action, Co Tyrone farmer William Fulton is claiming 1.9 million euros in damages.
Fulton, of Victoria Road, Bready, Strabane, and his company, W & F Fulton, brought the claim from the supply of biscuit meal feed purchased from Millstream between May and November 2008. Fulton claims his herd later had to be destroyed, causing losses of 1.9 million euros.