Northern Ireland news

Major clean-up continues after 'pungent' Aughnacloy spill

Cars covered in waste in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone. Picture by Mal McCann.
Connla Young

A major clean-up operation was continuing last night after a thick layer of “pungent” food waste was spilled across the main street of a busy Co Tyrone village.

The paste-like waste was splattered across property and cars along a 100-metre stretch of Aughnacloy’s Moore Street early yesterday.

DUP councillor Frances Burton, deputy chair of Mid Ulster council, last night said the smell was still “horrendous” and she would be requesting a “chemical clean” of the affected area.

Moore Street runs through the border village, which lies on the main Derry-Dublin road and sees thousands of vehicles pass through each day.

It was still unclear last night exactly how the spill happened or who was responsible, with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) investigating.

Waste covers the road in Aughnacloy yesterday. Picture by Rhonda Montgomery.

Cars covered in waste in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone Picture Mal McCann

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said it understood the material to be whey, which is a dairy by-product often used as a feed supplement for pigs.

It is believed waste water generated during yesterday's clean-up efforts was also removed form the area over fears of contaminating waterways.

Initially there was confusion over what the spilled substance was, with some business people saying they were told it may have been offal or chicken manure.

It is believed the waste may have been released from a passing vehicle at around 6.15am.

Buildings splattered by waste in Aughnacloy. Picture by Rhonda Montgomery.

Some businesses were forced to close as a result of the spill.

Brian Sherry, owner of the Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant, said it is the first time he has been forced to pull the shutters down during a week day since he started trading seven years ago.

“It has been a big blow to us,” he said.

“There’s still no word on what caused it."

Mr Sherry complained of a lack information from authorities.

“There has been literally no relay back from anybody about what happened.”

The view in Aughnacloy yesterday. Picture by Rhonda Montgomery.

Through its Facebook page Morrow Family Butchers said it had also closed for health reasons.

“Due to a large spillage on the main street and it being so close to the shop, we want to take the most hygienic option and therefore will be closed today,” it said.

SDLP councillor Sharon McAleer said it was "a big disruption to business and people in the area, especially food businesses”.

“It has left an odour, it’s not very pleasant thing to be dealing with.”

UUP MLA Rosemary Barton said: “The smell which I understand was most pungent certainly would not encourage people to stop and shop in the town.”

Mid Ulster council said staff were at the scene “to assist and support Road Service in the clean-up”.

“The prompt action of the council staff and other agencies in the clean-up operation was very welcome.”

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said: “Enquiries are ongoing in relation to the incident.”

Cars covered in waste in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone Picture Mal McCann.

Cars covered in waste in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone Picture Mal McCann.

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