Irish Times - 22-02-05
Granting a waste licence for a toxic incinerator at Ringaskiddy would be as damaging to tourism in Cork Harbour as granting a licence for a similar facility in the Phoenix Park would be to Dublin's tourist industry, it was claimed yesterday.
Ms Nuala O'Reilly of Monkstown Sailing Club told the EPA oral hearing into the granting of a draft waste-management licence to Indaver Ireland that the sailing club was totally opposed to the building of two incinerators at Ringaskiddy.
Ms O'Reilly said that Cork Harbour was a tremendous amenity for the people of Cork and allowing a toxic-waste incinerator and a municipal waste incinerator would be a serious mistake.
"Would the EPA grant a licence for a toxic incinerator in the Phoenix Park? That's what the harbour is to all of Cork," said Ms O'Reilly.
She added that Monkstown Bay Sailing Club was one of three sailing clubs in the harbour that used it as an amenity.
Ms O'Reilly also warned that fish in the harbour were at risk from toxic liquids escaping into the harbour through porous rocks at the site and the excess water overflow that would happen when floods occur, as happened last October.
She also expressed concern that gases from the proposed 55 metre chimney would be blown by prevailing south winds across the harbour to Cobh, where there are seven schools, a hospital and four medical centres.
"This toxic emission cannot escape upwards when there is a low cloud condition over the harbour", claimed Ms O'Reilly.
Carrigaline, with a population of 16,000, would be completely exposed to emissions when the wind is blowing from the south-east, east and north-east while Crosshaven and Currabinny would be affected by emissions when the wind is from the east or north-east, she said.
Ms O'Reilly also expressed concern about the risk to 800 students and staff at the new National Maritime College of Ireland in the event of an accident at the proposed plant, which is just 20 metres from the college's boundary.
"In the event of an explosion, the only escape would be by water, the site being a cul-de-sac. This means they would be trapped by fire; the fact that Indaver don't have enough fire-fighting water storage to fight a fire longer than about two hours is also very worrying," she said.
Earlier, Indaver Ireland's general manager, Mr John Ahern, rejected a claim made by Green Party Cllr Dominic Donnelly last week that he had a breakfast meeting with the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, about the planned incinerator.
No such meeting took place, said the Indaver manager.
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment