Profits rise at fluoride supplier in Ireland

Source: Irish Examiner | April 20th, 2015 | By Gordon Deegan

Location: Ireland

Pre-tax profits at the firm employed by the Government to deliver the material used for the contentious fluoridation of the State’s water supply last year jumped by 56% to €1.16m.

New figures show that pre-tax profits at Chemifloc Ltd increased by €416,776 from €744,548 to €1.16m in the 12 months to the end of last December.

The firm has the contract to deliver the hydrofluosilicic acid from a source in Spain that is required for the fluoridation of the State’s water supply.

Between 2009 and 2013, the State spent €9.7m on supplying the hydrofluosilicic acid.

Chemifloc was first awarded the hydrofluosilicic acid contract in 1991.

The main activity of the company is the manufacture of water treatment chemicals and according to the directors’ report “both the level of business and year end financial position were satisfactory given the current economic climate”.

The firm recorded the increase in pre-tax profits after its gross profit jumped by 15% from €4.346m to €5m.

The firm was established over 30 years ago by Hilary Lawless and his colleagues and at the end of last December it had accumulated profits of €12.83m.

At Ennis District Court last year, the firm only avoided a conviction concerning a chemical spill after confirming to court that it was to fund a €10,000 university science scholarship at the University of Limerick for a Clare student and pay costs of €3,152 and expenses of €1,562.

In the case, the firm pleaded guilty to two offences arising from a Health & Safety Authority investigation relating to the uncontrolled emission of a yellow-green gas on its premises in December 2012.

Arising from the chemical spill, a Chemifloc employee spent two days in intensive care, with a second spending five days in a hospital high dependency unit, along with a further six hospitalised.

Chemifloc pleaded guilty to failing to manage work activities in such a manner to ensure the safety, health, and work of its employees which as a consequence resulted in employees Eugene Flanagan, Martin Hehir, Jack O’Malley, John Dillon, Anthony O’Sullivan, Susan O’Donnell, Mary Collins, and contract truck driver Patrick Glynn sustaining personal injury.