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Mother tells of plant disaster fear


26/09/03

By Eddie Cassidy

A MOTHER spoke yesterday of how she feared a disaster at a proposed controversial toxic incinerator plant.

Mary Murphy from Monkstown, Co Cork, said residents in Cork Harbour retain vivid memories of the Hickson's plant explosion 10 years ago.

"Building a toxic incinerator in a cul-de-sac where there's no evacuation or emergency plans for local residents is foolhardy," she told a Bord Pleanála oral hearing. "The panic and mayhem that followed at Hickson's would make a disturbing movie.

"If anything like that was to happen at a toxic incinerator plant, it would be a horror movie."

She was one of a number of local residents to speak out against the proposed Indaver plant at Ringaskiddy on the fourth day of the oral hearing in Cork.

Mother of two teenage boys, Mrs Murphy said her Strawberry Hill home was three miles from the plant. "When we bought our home 18 months ago, given that it's a major financial investment in our lives, we had hoped we would see more capital appreciation.

"If the Indaver proposal is sanctioned, then the likelihood of that capital appreciation will be greatly and quickly reduced as well as the quality of our lives."

She told the chairman of the hearing, Philip Jones, that 20,000 people in the harbour catchment areas were opposed to the plant.

"Indaver say we need a toxic incinerator in Ireland and the harbour is the place for it but I disagree," Mrs Murphy said.

"The pharmaceutical industries in Ringaskiddy have said they are moving towards zero waste management due to the high cost of raw materials. This will reduce the amount of toxic waste produced."

With toxic waste from Britain and Northern Ireland to be transported to the proposed site, Mrs Murphy added, "I'm delighted to see Indaver trying to improve cross-Border relations because toxic incinerators will not do much for the people of the harbour."

She dismissed a suggestion from a Cork County Council official that everyone was familiar with the Cork Major Accident Emergency Plan. "I've never heard of it," she said.

She also pointed out that parents bringing children to Shanbally national school would regularly meet trucks carrying toxic waste.

She described the morning and afternoon traffic in the area of the Ringaskiddy roundabout as a 'nightmare'.

Resident Joe McCarthy said the people of Ringaskiddy were being treated as fools.

He said a headline in the Evening Echo, referring to the hearing as a charade, brought home the message to him.

"This hearing is not about a toxic incinerator, it's more to do with the arrogance, disrespect, money, and the integrity and credibility of institutions," he said.

 
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