A HEARING by An Bord Pleanala into the bitterly opposed plan for
a waste incinerator near Cork Harbour had to be abandoned for an hour
yesterday, to sort out problems with the sound system.
This followed complaints from the very large number of observers present
and the chairman of the hearing, Mr Philip Jones explained that An
Bord Pleanala was left with no option but to stage the event in the
Neptune basketball stadium because no other venue was available which
could cater for the large numbers expected to attend.
Outside, more than 200 anti-incineration protestors demonstrated as
the Bord Pleanala hearing about the controversial €100m waste incinerator
The oral hearing - expected to be one of the longest running in the
history of the State - began as protestors warned that the incinerator
represents "an environmental time-bomb" for the communities near Cork
The project's backers, Belgian firm, Indaver, insisted that the incinerator
will help resolve Ireland's waste management crisis and will also
operate to the most exacting environmental and safety standards.
Ironically, the hearing - which is expected to last at least two weeks
- opened amid controversial scenes as members of the public repeatedly
interrupted Mr Jones, insisting they could not hear proc'eedings due
to poor amplification.
"This is an oral hearing but there doesn't seem to much hearing going
on," one objector told him.
Mr Jones appealed to the huge number of observers present - many of
whom were children wearing school uniforms - to remain quiet and allow
the much-criticised amplification system to work.
The hearing will take at least two weeks, with submissions from more
than 50 groups. These include a major submission by the first party
(Indaver), 24 separate submissions from third parties and 25 submissions
With each of the third parties entitled to cross-examine witnesses,
some analysts warned that the hearing could take more than a month.
Yesterday, the hearing opened as members of Cork Harbour for A Safe
Environment (CHASE) were marshalled outside Blackpool's Neptune Stadium
in a deliberate show of force from communities including Ringaskiddy,
Bishopstown, Carrigaline, Cobh and Monkstown.
Children wearing special chemical suits carried a banner warning "Don't
Poison our Future" while several CHASE supporters donned fancy dress
to highlight their opposition to the plant.
However, Indaver officials expressed optimism that An Bord Pleanala
will uphold the project which is in full accordance with State waste
management strategies, managing director John Ahern stressed.
"I believe that An Bord Pleanala will support our case because the
project is proposed to the highest standards within the industry and
our waste management expertise is clearly required in Ireland which,
to date, has been forced to export its toxic waste for treatment and
disposal," he said.
Mr Ahern pointed out that within the EU, only Ireland, Greece and
Portugal lack the ability through incinerators to deal with their
own toxic waste.
Under Indaver's plan, the first phase incinerator development would
focus on a 100,000 tonne toxic waste unit - with a second phase development
expected to increase the incinerator's capacity to deal with a further
100,000 tonnes of domestic waste.
The incinerator is proposed for a site at Ringaskiddy, beside Cork
Harbour, which was purchased from Irish Steel/Irish Ispat.
© Irish Independent
http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ & http://www.unison.ie/