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Irish Examiner - 01/03/05
Incinerator objectors hit out at ‘silent’ ministers
By Mary Dundon, Political Reporter

OBJECTORS to the proposed €93 million toxic waste incinerator in Cork yesterday hit out at two local ministers for their failure to support the latest bid to stop it going ahead.

Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment (CHASE) said the silence from Ministers Mícheál Martin and Batt O’Keeffe was “deafening”.

CHASE and 13 other objectors have been giving evidence to an Environmental Protection Agency oral hearing for the past 11 days in a bid to halt the project.

“The absence of ministers at the EPA oral hearing is an indication of their lack of concern for their constituents,” CHASE spokeswoman Mary Hurley said.

Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Mr Martin is on public record opposing the Cork incinerator due to its proximity to the National Maritime College and the Naval Base.

“But he still has not appeared at the oral hearing, in spite of numerous requests,” Ms Hurley said.

She added that Junior Environment Minister Mr O’Keeffe was also asked to put his views on the record, but his absence is viewed as a lack of concern for the people of Ringaskiddy.

But Mr Martin’s spokeswoman said he has told the EPA the proposed incinerator site is not the correct one. “The minister believes it would be wholly inappropriate for ministers to turn up at an independent agency’s oral hearings - it could be represented as governmental interference in an independent process,” Mr Martin’s spokeswoman added.

Mr O’Keeffe said he is on record as opposing the incinerator site on planning grounds. “This is now a licensing issue by an independent body and any statement on my behalf could be viewed as interference by a Minister in the Department of the Environment,” Mr O’Keeffe added. He also said he was not formally invited by any objectors to attend the EPA oral hearing.


Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment
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