LIMERICK City West councillor Malachy McCreesh has condemned Irish Cement for what he describes as “bully boy tactics” over the company’s claim that jobs will be jeopardised if plans to burn alternate waste material at its plant in Mungret are not approved.
Speaking in response to a statement by the company that jobs would be “significantly at risk” Cllr McCreesh accused the company of adopting “bully boy tactics”.
“Local residents will not be cowed by such talk. What we need is a proper public consultation,” he stated.
The Sinn Fein representative is of the view that the genuine concerns of the general public need to be addressed before any element of planning permission can be granted.
“Irish Cement provides much needed employment in the area and will hopefully continue at this plant for many years into the future. However, there are serious concerns regarding the future plans to use alternate waste materials in the cement production process.
“This is particularly the case with many local people who are worried that a waste incineration may be the future objective,” Cllr McCreesh told the Limerick Post.
“I think a public consultation process will be the best approach for the company to communicate their plans to the general public. The local communities and the wider population of Limerick have raised numerous concerns in submissions opposing both the planning application and the application for the revision of the Industrial Emissions Licence.
“If they were properly addressed, the issues raised in many of these submissions would help allay the health and safety concerns of the public. In a public forum, independent expertise would either confirm or dispute the facts as presented by Irish Cement.
Using the threat of job losses at the plant is not the best way to communicate reassurance to the general public about their justified health and safety concerns.”
Irish Cement communications manager Brian Gilmore said that they remained committed to their Limerick cement manufacturing facility.
“Continuous investment by Irish Cement since the Mungret factory first opened in 1938 means that today it is a modern efficient facility and this application to replace fossil fuels is the next logical investment for the plant.
“Reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels will help to secure the long-term future of the factory, and securing the jobs at the factory have been consistent messages relating to this project since it was first announced to our neighbours and local Councillors back in late 2015,” he added.
“Limerick is now the only cement factory in Ireland not replacing fossil fuels with alternative fuels. Using alternative fuels is standard practice throughout the European cement industry and that experience going back over 40 years demonstrates it is a safe practice.
“The factory in Limerick is licenced by the EPA under the same European Regulations and we are happy to assure our neighbours that there will be no change in emissions as the factory gradually moves away from fossil fuels,” Mr Gilmore concluded.
by Alan Jacques