Limerick solicitor’s High Court challenge to Irish Cement incineration licence

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Michelle Hayes
Limerick solicitor Michelle Hayes

A SEVEN-day High Court hearing is underway as Limerick solicitor Michelle Hayes mounts a challenge against the decision of the Environmental Protection Agency granting an incinerator licence to Irish Cement in Mungret to burn 90,000 tonnes of waste.

The waste will comprise of whole tyres with metal components, animal waste tissue, manure, animal faeces, paint, adhesives, plastics, fly ash, waste refuse and mine waste.

The Irish Cement site is located on the suburbs of Limerick City West and is predominantly a residential area with a number of primary and secondary schools nearby. The incinerator, Ms Hayes claims, will have very serious adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

She believes the emissions from the cement factory will discharge heavy metals, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, dioxins, furans and other chemicals into the air in high concentrations and will have an adverse effect.

Ms Hayes is also arguing that there will also be direct discharges of water from the cement works and from its associated quarry to the Bunlicky Clayfield Pond which is later released to the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

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“Hexavalent Chromium, a substance released from the cement kiln is extremely toxic, it effects the respiratory tract and is carcinogenic and increases the risks of lung cancer. It also causes perforations and ulcerations of the septum, bronchitis, nose bleeds and pneumonia can occur.

“The Industrial Emissions Directive, which regulates polluting emissions, prescribes that Sulphur Dioxide levels will not exceed 50mg. Irish Cement admitted at the oral hearing in December 2020 that it was exceeding the limit and that it was on its second derogation from the terms set out in the EU Directive,” she told the Limerick Post ahead of this week’s hearing.