THE letter from John Ahern of Indaver Ireland (Irish Examiner, November 11) raises at least as many questions as it purports to answer.
The proposed toxic waste incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Cork harbour will have a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum.
This is greatly in excess of the annual tonnage generated in Ireland.
Can he really expect us to believe that Indaver do not intend to apply for permission to import toxic waste from abroad as soon as possible in order to render their behemoth financially viable?
In relation to Mr Ahern’s economic argument, Ireland currently has ‘full employment’, according to Dr Sean Barrett, the leading economist, who was also quoted in the same issue of the Irish Examiner.
The question is whether this facility is as fundamental to our economic wellbeing as Mr Ahern would have us believe. After all, we have full employment without it.
Mr Ahern further cites Indaver’s record on breaches of environmental controls but is silent on the small matter of those occasions when Indaver breached those controls by failing to prevent emission of toxic substances well in excess of required minimum safety standards.
These breaches are a matter of public record. They are not the figment of anyone’s imagination.
Indaver also have a habit of referring to expert opinion but are quite selective in their choice of which experts to quote, or which part of such statements to quote from.
The Environment Protection Agency itself has raised the matter of public health with the Government by pointing out that there are no facilities in place to monitor the effects of incineration on the health of the public.
Finally, in relation to the proposed location of this generator of thousands of tonnes of toxic ash, might I ask why Mr Ahern has chosen to remain silent on the subject of the recent flooding of the site, and the fact that the population of Cobh would have been unable to evacuate Great Island in the event of an emergency? Might I ask whether he intends to move house to Ringaskiddy as a gesture of solidarity with the local residents he expects to live beside it?
If he were to do so he could take on more direct responsibility for monitoring the incinerator.
Oh, I forgot: they propose to monitor it from Belgium.
Smoke and mirrors indeed.
Irish Examiner - 15/11/04
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment