AN Bord Pleanála will hold an oral hearing into appeals against Limerick City and County Council’s decision to approve plans by Irish Cement to change the type of fuel they burn at their factory in Mungret.
The decision comes as it emerges that the consultancy firm hired by the council to advise them on the company’s application to burn tyres and other waste materials are now contracted to do work for Irish Cement.
The Inspector dealing with the case ruled that an oral hearing is appropriate and letters went out on Wednesday to all parties concerned, An Bord Pleanála confirmed to the Limerick Post.
No exact date or location has been decided on for the hearing but it is understood that it will be in September.
The matter under appeal is the decision by the local authority to grant permission for the physical works necessary for the changeover.
Meanwhile, Limerick City North Solidarity Party Councillor, Cian Prendiville, has called for the local authority to review the way it seeks advice on applications.
“It seems that within weeks of advising the council to give the go-ahead to Irish Cement’s plans to burn tyres on the Dock road, AWN consultants were signed up by Irish Cement to work for them.
“This is despite the fact that they told the councillors that they had never had any contact with Irish Cement in their entire existence up until that point. It raises serious questions about the way environmental protection is done in this country, and the dependence on so-called ‘independent’ experts who are reliant on contracts from big polluters.
“The reality is AWN consulting have supported pretty much every single incinerator ever proposed in Ireland, from the hugely controversial one in Cork, to the hated gasification plant proposed in West Limerick.
“A company with pro-incineration history should not have been relied upon by the council, and I think they now need to review this whole process. Twice I have attempted to raise this question on the city council agenda, and twice it has not been allowed. I will now be submitting this again for the agenda of the next council meeting, he said.
There was no response from AWN, Irish Cement or Limerick City and County Council to Cllr Prendiville’s statement at time of going to press.
Read similar stories in the Limerick Post Politics section.