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Plan for toxic waste incinerator will be 'catastrophic' to green image

Friday September 26th 2003

CELEBRITY TV chef and Ballymaloe Cookery School founder, Darina Allen, yesterday warned that a controversial 100m toxic waste incinerator could cost Ireland its money-spinning "clean and green" food export image.

The founder of one of Ireland's most famous restaurants also warned the An Bord Pleanala (ABP) oral hearing, on its fourth day, that if the toxic waste facility was built, it could have a catastrophic impact on hundreds of small firms in the Cork harbour area which depend on the catering, hotel and tourism sectors.

In a hard-hitting rejection of the proposed 100,000-tonne incinerator, Ms Allen warned it would not only hurt her East Cork business, but hundreds of others throughout Ireland.

"The image of a clean, green island where we naturally produce safe and wholesome food is crucially important to our prosperity," she added. "This is not only the prosperity of our agricultural industry but our food, tourism, catering and export industries.

"There is an awful lot at stake here - and there are alternatives for us to explore. We mustn't go down this route until we have exhausted every possible avenue and focused on reducing, recycling and re-using our waste."

Darina's mother-in-law, Myrtle Allen, had earlier slated the decision by ABP not to allow pollution or health issues to be dealt with during the oral hearing at Cork's Neptune Stadium.

Chairman Philip Jones had warned on the second day of the marathon oral hearing that it was outside their remit to address health, pollution or environmental matters and that the hearing would confine itself to planning issues.

Visibly annoyed that health and pollution issues could not be addressed, Myrtle Allen bluntly warned that the ruling was "a travesty of justice".

Mrs Allen added that she was appearing before the hearing after numerous foreign visitors to Ballymaloe had urged her to speak out against a toxic waste incinerator being based in the area.

Belgian firm Indaver proposes the incinerator for a former Irish Steel/Irish Ispat site at Ringaskiddy on Cork Harbour. If given the go-ahead, it will process 100,000 tonnes of toxic waste each year.

Ralph Riegel

Irish Independent
http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ & http://www.unison.ie/
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