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Irish Examiner - 08/12/2004

Ministers set incinerator poser

Every Government minister was challenged today to state whether or not they would have room for an incinerator in their own back yard.

The Green Party made the call after Environment Minister Dick Roche admitted he would “probably” oppose the siting of one in his Wicklow constituency while at the same time launching a campaign promoting their safety and environmental benefits.

Environment spokesman Ciaran Cuffe described the revelation as “astonishing” and claimed it was the Cabinet rather than the public which appeared to need convincing of the merits of incinerators.

“Yesterday the minister launched an information campaign to persuade the public of the benefits of incineration yet it would appear that it is his own Cabinet colleagues that need the most persuading,” he said.

“The former Minister for Health, Micheál Martin and Minister O’Dea are on record opposing the location of an incinerator at Ringaskiddy, Michael McDowell is opposing the location of an incinerator at Ringsend and now the Minister for the Environment admits that he would probably oppose the location of an incinerator in Wicklow.”

Mr Roche said he would probably act in a similar manner to Mr McDowell, who has opposed the building of an incinerator in his own constituency, if he was faced with similar circumstances.

But he denied that through Government proposals to install a network of incinerators across the state he was imposing them on other communities.

He was interviewed on RTE’s Primetime programme just hours after he launched a leaflet which attempts to quell public concerns about new generation incinerators, as part of the Race Against Waste campaign.

Mr Cuffe added: “Of course what Minister Roche has neglected to say about incinerators is their ability to store up problems for future generations.

“Many countries are still dealing with the health and waste problems of badly run incinerators.”

He warned it would become increasingly difficult to wean people away from being a “throw-away society” and that incinerators produce large amounts of landfill waste in the form of ashes as well as a significant amount of toxic residues requiring landfill.


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