A protest march is to take place in Limerick next month after controversial plans by Irish Cement to burn alternative fuels, including used tyres, were given the green light by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), subject to conditions and an appeal process.
There was widespread shock when residents, politicians, and groups opposed to the company’s licence application, received confirmation that the EPA was allowing the €10m project to proceed, subject to a 28-day appeal process.
Claire Keating, a local resident, and spokeswoman with Limerick Against Pollution (LAP), said she was "shocked" and "extremely disappointed" with the decision.
Ms Keating said “4,400 objections” were lodged against the plans.
"We will be pursuing lots of avenues to stop this. We definitely will be launching an appeal, and we plan on requesting an oral hearing. We are also seeking legal advice, and we have been onto MEPs in Europe, too," she said.
"A protest march is planned to take place at City Hall [Limerick] on October 5. We are not going to give up," Ms Keating said.
The deadline for objections to be submitted against Irish Cement’s proposal is October 15.
Fianna Fáil Councillor James Collins, said it was a "hugely disappointing decision", which he claimed "will damage public health and Limerick’s reputation as a clean, green city".
Cllr Collins said the area where waste will be burned is "adjacent to a public park, four schools".
The EPA’s “Proposed Determination” on Irish Cement’s application "provides for the acceptance of non-hazardous waste materials to be used as alternative fuels and raw materials, up to a maximum of 90,000 tonnes per annum".
The EPA said there were "more than 100 individual conditions relating to the environmental management, operation, control and monitoring of the installation".
It added it was "satisfied that the emissions from the installation, when operated in accordance with the conditions of the proposed licence, will meet all required environmental protection standards and will not endanger human health or harm the environment in the vicinity of the installation or over a wider area".
Welcoming the EPA’s decision, a spokesman for Irish Cement said the company “will study the details of the proposed licence before making any further comment”.