MAYOR Kevin Sheahan admitted this week that he would have preferred if the lease agreement for a gasification plant at the former Gortadroma landfill site in Ballyhahill had not been signed until after the US company had met with residents.
Speaking at this month’s Adare-Rathkeale municipal district meeting, the Fianna Fail politician said it was now most important that Cadence EnviroPower (CEP) “get their butts over to Limerick right away”.
He told the meeting that the level of objections to the Gortadroma project was the highest he had experienced in his thirty years as a public representative.
“There is an anxious public out there and people have real concerns. There has also been devious political play. Our electorate are concerned and Cadence need to get on a plane and get over here to answer questions and reassure them.
“Gasification is not incineration, we’ve got to be careful there. People feel threatened and they need to hear from the professionals. They need to hear from Cadence. I prefer if we hadn’t signed it until they spoke to people.”
Fine Gael councillor Tom Neville asked Cllr Sheahan why he had not attended a recent public meeting in Shanagolden that was attended by almost 150 local residents.
“I had mayoral business. I didn’t avoid deliberately,” he replied.
Cllr Neville said it is imperative that the US company get to Limerick and start the public consultation process and clarify their plans.
“The gasification plant is all subject to statutory procedure and public consultation. Cadence need to be here yesterday. The onus is on them,” he declared.
Independent councillor Emmett O’Brien said he stood by his vote to lease the Gortadroma site to the US bidders and insisted it was signed in good faith.
He also said he had been appalled at some of the “political chicanery” and accused one city politician of using the issue to build a national profile.
Fine Gael councillor Stephen Keary claimed that there was a lot of misinformation about the project in the public domain.
“I have no difficulty with it. I hope it does succeed. It’s a fantastic idea and if it brings 140 jobs to Limerick, so be it,” he said.
Cllr Richard O’Donoghue (FF) highlighted the genuine concerns of people living in the area before lambasting those who have used the Gortadroma bid for political gains.
“There is a lot of propaganda. Cadence need to get their butts in gear and meet the locals,” he said.