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Irish Examiner - 27/02/06
Another nail in coffin of Irish democracy

THE announcement of the Strategic Infrastructure Bill to fast track major projects is another nail in the coffin of Irish democracy.

Local authorities and the communities they serve have been stripped of any real input into the planning process for such developments.

This is an arrogant, dictatorial move by a Government that is riding roughshod over small communities while pandering to the large corporations which drive these projects.

Community protests against extremely contentious issues such as incineration or the Tara motorway will be emasculated by this new legislation.

Earlier this month, Monaghan County Council rejected a proposal to build an incinerator at Emyvale, close to the border. Because the planned incinerator was judged likely to have significant environmental effects on Northern Ireland, Monaghan council referred the application to the Planning Service in Belfast, in accordance with the planning and development regulations.

This proposal attracted a large number of objections on both sides of the border. In 2003, over 230 written objections were received from Northern district councils, community groups, political parties, companies, businesses, health professionals, schoolchildren and various other individuals. A further 139 submissions were sent to the Planning Service in Belfast in 2005.

Local opposition in Monaghan was intense, including one petition with approximately 17,000 signatures.

Does this new bill signal the end of this type of democratic protest? If so, how are Northern Irish people to voice their concerns at developments which will have significant environmental effects on their community, but which are located south of the border?

Patrick McGinnity
Derrynoose
Keady
Co Armagh

     

Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
Bishop's Road, Cobh, Co. Cork
Tel - 021 481 5564      Email - info@chaseireland.org
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