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Irish Examiner - 17-01-04
We will take incinerator fight to court, residents vow

By Mícheál Lehane, Catherine Shanahan and Mary Dundon – Irish Examiner

ANGRY residents at the site of the country’s first commercial toxic waste incinerator vowed last night to take their battle to the High Court.An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the controversial €95m incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Cork by nine votes to one, despite the objections of its planning officer. Belgian-owned Indaver Ireland said yesterday the incinerator would be fully operational by 2007. The plant will burn 100,000 tonnes of hazardous waste a year.

The Ringaskiddy Residents Association (RRA) said it will immediately seek a judicial review of the planning permission.

"We will fight this all the way. I'm even willing to go to jail to make sure it is never built," RRA spokesperson Audrey Hogan said.

Objectors estimate they will need a war chest of €120,000 to mount a successful legal challenge. Residents had raised €55,000, but most of that was spent on a four-week public hearing that examined Indaver's planning application. However, they say the money will be found. "We're confident that we can raise the money, we have plenty of backers," Ms Hogan said.

Campaigners across the country have vowed to support any legal challenge. Five more household and commercial waste plants are planned in Ringaskiddy, Cork; Carranstown, Meath; Poolbeg, Dublin; Waterford/Kilkenny and Connacht.

"We support them fully and hope they are successful in the courts," spokesman for the No Incinerator Alliance Tony Rooney said. Among the reasons for yesterday's decision were:

the provisions of the Waste Management Act, which preclude An Bord Pleanála from considering matters relating to the risk of environmental pollution; the view that Cork Harbour was suitable because it "already had a large-scale pharmaceutical and chemical industry".

There are nine hazardous waste incinerators in Ireland, five in Cork, two in Dublin one each in Kilkenny and Clare.

Environment Minister Martin Cullen welcomed the decision. He rejected claims the toxic waste incinerator would be a threat to public safety or health. Now the EU has put Ireland under pressure to stop exporting its hazardous waste, we must take responsibility for it, he said.

"Incineration is part of the solution to our waste management problem a lot of myths and legends have been put out about it that are totally without foundation. The old mass burners are gone and now we have cutting edge technology," Mr Cullen said.

Health Minister Mícheál Martin, who lives in Cork, said he does not believe the hazardous waste incinerator will pose a health threat. However, he said he had reservations about the choice of Ringaskiddy as a location.

"Ringaskiddy is home to 60% of the country's pharmaceutical industries and the residents of that area have borne their fair share of industrial development," he said.

     

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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