Councillors blasted over Aughinish explosions

Rusal Aughinish on Aughinish Island, Askeaton.

“IF we are electing councillors who are putting the health of communities at risk then something must be done to address it.”

That was the message from Cappagh Farmers Support Group spokesman, Pat Geoghegan who claims that councillors in Adare-Rathkeale Municipal District have ignored requests to meet with local people over rock-blasting at Rusal Aughinish in Askeaton.

A letter was sent to the six area local representatives — Mayor Stephen Keary (FG), Cllr Adam Teskey (FG), Cllr Kevin Sheahan (FF), Cllr Ciara McMahon (SF), Cllr Emmett O’Brien (IND) and Cllr Richard O’Donoghue (IND) — on September 26 last and, according to Mr Geoghegan, “not one councillor has taken up the offer”.

Cappagh Farmers Support Group invited the councillors to a meeting, which was also to be attended by Limerick Against Pollution (LAP) and Rescue the River Shannon Group. Both Claire Keating of LAP and Jim Long of the Rescue group also wrote to councillors requesting a meeting to brief them of the dangers of blasting at Aughinish Island.

“Not one councillor has taken up the offer especially since they gave everyone the impression that they were mislead about Gortadroma. If they don’t want to know the dangers here then they clearly didn’t want to know the dangers in Gortadroma,” Mr Geoghegan told the Limerick Post.

“Its all about to facilitate the Council for €4 million per year. If we are electing councillors who are putting the health of communities at risk, then something must be done to address it,” he declared.

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The Cappagh Farmers Support Group believe that Rusal’s burrow pit proposal will have a life-long detrimental impact on fauna, wildlife, marine life, birds, and the natural environment.

“Our objection clearly outlines the dangers of blasting rock to a depth of 8 metres and 4.5 hectare in size next to Red Mud Ponds, storing approximately 40 million tonnes of toxic waste. We would like to brief councillors and the Mayor himself of the dangers to this proposal,” Mr Geoghegan explained.

“We have shown the total failure by Aughinish to carry out a proper public consultation process along with many other alarming issues, that have been ignored in this application by Aughinish Alumina.

“If Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Independents, and Sinn Féin can come together to protect Aughinish and the Council, it leaves no independent voice to represent the community.”

Sinn Fein representative for the Adare-Rathkeale Municipal District, Cllr Ciara McMahon this week told the Limerick Post that she has spoken with Mr Geoghegan on the issue and has “no problem meeting them”.

“I have read the information they have sent me. I see no reason as to why we can’t have a deputation from the group,” she said.

There was no further response from any of the other five area representatives at the time of going to print.

by Alan Jacques

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