A ‘kick in the teeth’ for local community

Tánaiste Simon Coveney

The Government and opposition have united in anger over An Bord Pleanála’s approval for an incinerator at Ringaskiddy, insisting the move is a “kick in the teeth” to a community playing a key role in the future of Cork City.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Greens leader Eamon Ryan and others lashed out at the decision, saying it will cause immense damage to the picturesque harbour area and damage the region’s tourism and business development proposals.

With Ringaskiddy at the industrial heart of the harbour, Mr Coveney said while the ruling is independent of politics he is deeply frustrated by what happened.

He said: “I have opposed this application from the beginning and have supported the local community in their efforts to prevent this from going ahead, for a decade now.

“At the time of the oral hearing, I made a detailed submission in person outlining that it was inconceivable for a major incinerator to be developed in a harbour area where the Government has already invested millions.

“We are working hard to create something very special at the heart of Cork Harbour area which is of national significance. 

"I can understand that people will be very angry and frustrated at this announcement and I share this sense with them.”

Fellow Cork South Central TD Micheál Martin insisted the decision to give the green light to the planned incinerator was a “kick in the teeth” to the local community.

“I’m very unhappy; this is the third planning application, my understanding is the inspector recommended against permission.

“We have been developing the harbour area... and people are genuinely angry and very, very, upset.

“I think this is wrong. That area, of all areas, has taken on a lot; has co-existed with one of the most significant business clusters, the N28, the Port of Cork. 

"The community takes on a lot and then gets kicked in the teeth,” he said, adding an incinerator would “disfigure” the picturesque area and damage further growth.

Speaking in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil constituency colleague Michael McGrath said the incinerator was not in the interests of the local community.

Describing the decision as “appalling”, he said An Bord Pleanála had shown “a complete disregard for the views of the local community and the inspector”.

He noted the Department of Environment held two meetings in March and July 2011 with Indaver representatives for which “it would appear there is no record, minutes or documentation”.

Supporting calls from local group CHASE [Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment] for clarity on what was discussed at the meetings, he said that particular issue “needs to be investigated”.

A number of other Cork-based politicians including Fine Gael senator Jerry Buttimer, Labour’s Cork East Sean Sherlock TD and Sinn Féin’s Cork South Central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire also raised serious concerns over the planned incinerator in the heart of Cork Harbour.

Heavily criticising the decision, Greens leader Eamon Ryan added: “It is a black day for the environment. This is completely against modern European policy or any sort of circular economy.

“Everything this Government is doing is leading towards an emissions rise by 2030 rather than the dramatic cuts we need.

“We need to turn around this damning indictment of what is happening in our country,” Mr Ryan added.

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