Drinks company Diageo had a €1.4 million fund to reduce nighttime noise pollution from the historic Guinness brewery in Dublin, a court has heard.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prosecuted the firm at Dublin District Court on Monday, with Diageo pleading guilty to two charges of breaking nighttime noise limits at St James's Gate in November 2020 and January 2021.
Three other charges were withdrawn.
Background noises reached twice the permitted levels, Judge Anthony Halpin heard. However, he noted Diageo had agreed to pay €12,000 towards prosecution costs.
The judge also told the firm he would strike out the case if it donated €10,000 to a charity.
EPA inspector Brian Duggan told the court the nighttime noise limit for the brewery was 45 decibels. Sound tests taken four metres from the site on the first date showed the noise reached 56 decibels, while the second test taken at Bonham Street was 54 decibels.
The witness explained this was "twice as loud" as the brewery's permitted noise limit, adding that from 10pm-7am there was a "constant hum" and "a high-pitched whining noise".
Mr Duggan agreed with the defence that complaints from locals have reduced in the past 6-12 months.
The EPA accepted Diageo had spent €993,000 on reducing noise pollution, including sound dampers, restricting traffic at certain times and switching to electric instead of diesel-powered shutters.
The company had also engaged acoustic experts and had apportioned a further €452,000 to continue the efforts to address noise issues at the site.
The defence asked the court to accept how the guilty plea spared the necessity for a two-day trial about technical issues.
The judge noted the managing director and senior executives had attended the proceedings, adding that the firm was a significant employer and had a range of job opportunities for the locality.
Diageo also offered to pay €10,000 to a good cause, with Judge Halpin saying he would strike out the case if the firm gave the money to the Little Flower Penny Dinner charity which helps underprivileged people in Dublin city centre's Liberties area.
The case was adjourned until July 25th.