A WOMAN who staged a sit-down protest, preventing cars and trucks from accessing the former Gas Works land in the city has stood aside after Gardaí were called to intervene.
Environmental activist, Sinead Jackson from Annacotty made a one-woman stand over two days this week to protest the continued extraction and handling of coal-tar at the site, which she claims is a danger to health.
Local residents have also raised the issue of the remediation works at the O’Curry Street/Dock road three acre site, claiming there is a sickening smell and there have been a total of 77 complaints to the Environmental Protection Agency,
Ms Jackson told the Limerick Post that she decided to picket the site on the first day and to sit down blocking the entrance the second as she is “very concerned” that the EPA do not seem to be tackling the issue of smells caused by moving coal tar from the site.
“No-one has consulted local residents or explained what is going on. They have a right to know. Coal tar is a dangerous substance and the smells and gas are a health hazard,” she said.
Ms Jackson ended her blocking of the entrance after being asked to move by Gardaí.
She said she wanted to highlight the concerns of local people but did not wish to fall foul of the law.
Gas Networks Ireland said that they are remediating the soil in the area with a view to commercial development on the site.
Pre natural gas, the process of providing town gas “also produced a number of by-products, including coal tar, which was stored in underground tanks. Residual coal tar remained on site in Limerick from this process, which needed to be remediated.
“The clean-up works are in the final phase of a two phase remediation strategy to remediate the site. All soil containing coal tar to be remediated has been excavated, with over 90 per cent of the soil stabilised and reused on the site over the last 12 months.
“This week ENVA, a licensed waste transfer company, will transport this soil to Finland through Limerick Docks for further treatment.
“Movement of this soil has the potential to generate odours while it is being loaded into the covered trucks. To minimise odour, suppressants will be used on site and at the docks, and trucks will be covered during transit.”
Gas Netwroks expect the clean-up works to be completed by the end of August.