“IT is not feasible that Irish Cement could be trusted to operate the burning of tyres in a fashion that would not present a risk to the local community.”
That’s according to Limerick Green Party representative Rachel Birmingham, who welcomed a decision by An Bord Pleanala to hold an oral hearing in the city this week, to scrutinise the granting by Limerick City and County Council of planning permission to Irish Cement to burn industrial waste at their Mungret factory.
“The fears and concerns of local residents need to be taken seriously as they will be directly affected by this decision.
“Residents in the locality and in an extended area around the city, and in counties Limerick and Clare will be directly affected by an increased risk to human health, our food chain, the air we breathe and the ecology of the estuary, whether from imported tyres, dioxin emissions or operating risks at the factory,” Miss Birmingham claimed.
She maintains that Irish Cement has a track record of not being sufficiently transparent with local residents when problems such as excessive noise and blowouts have occurred in the past.
“The EPA have named Irish Cement at the Mungret site as being in the top five worst offenders in the country when it comes to obeying environmental regulations. With this in mind it is simply not feasible that Irish Cement could be trusted to operate the burning of tyres in a fashion that would not present a risk to the local community. In light of these concerns, the Green Party opposes the granting of planning permission to Irish Cement.”
Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville pointed out that the factory is right in the heart of Limerick’s fastest growing residential area.
“The reality is that burning tyres produces dangerous toxins. That is not disputed. We are simply told that if everything goes according to plan, Irish Cement will be able to keep those toxins within ‘acceptable’ limits. But we know Irish Cement have breached their limits before, and they have been also caught out earlier this year trying to deny responsibility for emissions from the plant,” Cllr Prendiville commented.
“This factory in right in the heart of Limerick’s fastest growing residential area. It is an area where the council plans to develop thousands of new homes in the coming years. This is not an area to be incinerating tyres and other waste. In fact, surely rather than investing in rubbish burning plants, we should be investing in recycling, and reducing waste in the first place?”
Limerick billionaire businessman JP McManus jetted in from Geneva this week to oppose Irish Cement’s plan to burn tyres and plastics at its Castlemungret site. A public hearing into Irish Cement’s proposal got underway at the South Court Hotel this Tuesday.
The €10 million development plan sees Irish Cement bidding to replace fossil fuel, used on site for cement clinker production, with alternative fuels to improve the sustainability of the Limerick operations, where 80 people are employed.
The Limerick site is currently the only cement plant in Ireland not licensed to use alternative fuels.
There was no response from Irish Cement at the time of going to print.
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