Irish Examiner - 23-01-04
By Eoin English - Irish Examiner
HARBOUR residents met with legal advisers last night to plan a High Court challenge to the location of a national toxic waste incinerator in their area. Ringaskiddy and District Residents' Association has seven weeks to lodge an appeal seeking a judicial review of last Friday's An Bórd Pleanála decision to grant planning permission for the Indaver incinerator.
The group was empowered at a packed public meeting in Ringaskiddy on Wednesday night to continue the fight against the incinerator plans.
"There was a unanimous vote to take this issue to the High Court. We are in this for the long haul," group spokesperson Audrey Hogan said last night. The group has also secured the backing of eight other harbour groups following Wednesday's meeting.
Ms Hogan said her association was heartened by the support.
Fundraising for the legal challenge, which is expected to cost between €100,000 and €150,000, began after Wednesday's meeting. "People put their hands in their pockets and gave us money. One man emptied his wallet and another person gave us £100," she said.
Ms Hogan said last night the association feels let down by certain TDs in the area.
People have singled out Health Minister Micheál Martin
for particular criticism, saying he should have attended Wednesday's
meeting. He was attending a committee meeting at the European Parliament
Fine Gael TD Simon Coveney and Fianna Fáil TDs Batt O'Keeffe
and John Dennehy said they could not attend because of work commitments
The Green Party's Dan Boyle, the only South Central TD to attend the meeting, told the Dáil yesterday the way in which bodies like An Bórd Pleanála are appointed, and how they are allowed or not allowed to be independent, or how they are pressurised or intimidated into doing the Government's bidding, should be examined.
"The fact that political appointments continue to be made and that appointments from within the civil service are invariably reluctant to challenge government policy immediately compromises a body like An Bórd Pleanála and diminishes public confidence in its work," he said.
"When planning grounds are strongly cited and proved and the State body charged with standing apart from the Government ignores this advice, citing the Government's national policy, then the question which must be asked is why have stand-alone bodies if they cannot stand alone?"
Meanwhile, the council said yesterday that 18 sites are being considered as the location for a waste water treatment plant a vital part of the €68m lower harbour sewerage scheme. Ringaskiddy is among those sites, but no final decision has been made, a council spokesperson said.
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment