by Alan Jacques
THE multimillion proposal for a gasification plant in Gortadroma is not a “done deal”, according to local Sinn Fein councillor Ciara McMahon.
US firm Cadence EnviroPower (CEP) propose to convert 1,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste a day into syngas at the Ballyhahill site in a deal estimated to be worth €190 million to Limerick City and County Council over 30 years.
The lease was signed this Monday, just hours before a public meeting in Shanagolden that saw almost 200 residents turn out to protest against the gasification plant being built in their area.
However, Cllr McMahon pointed out that the lease merely allows CEP to have a base for their planning permission.
“One cannot submit an application for planning without a site. That is all we have permitted; to allow this avenue to be explored with real consultation and consideration for many factors including environment, traffic and noise pollution,” said the Adare-Rathkeale representative.
“If this proposal is deemed inadequate on any condition within the planning process or the EPA and it does not meet the strict conditions then this proposal does not go ahead the land is returned to the council, the landfill remains closed and monitored for the future.”
Cllr McMahon insisted that no one will ever dismiss the greatly impacted quality of life for residents in the area, upon the initial creation of a landfill which was later developed into a super dump.
“All residents suffered whether it was from rodents, traffic congestion or from the strong stale smell from the dump. I will never diminish the suffering of anyone regarding the dump. This lease will be null and void if this company fail to make the standards expected by planning authority or environmental protection authority.”
The Sinn Fein politician also admitted that she regrets not pushing forward on a public meeting before now, even on an informal basis, for families living in the area.
“As an elected representative for this area, it was brought to my attention in September 2014 during this initial meeting I asked for a public meeting regarding this proposal. It was deemed at the time that there was not enough information regarding the proposal. I again asked in October/ November for a public meeting.
“No one will deny this is an opportunity for the area but the Gortadroma area and surrounding parishes are populated by many young families and many families scarred by the history of the dump. As an area we have asked for a public meeting that Cadence EnviroPower speak with residents and show their proposal to the area and speak openly about what they propose to do in the area. This needs to happen sooner rather then later so that this company can stand before the people and answer all the questions regarding this proposal,” she concluded.