Tears and accusations of insanity gave an emotional edge to some of the many presentations on day nine of the oral hearing into proposals by Indaver Ireland to build an incinerator on the Ringaskiddy peninsula.
Monkstown resident Mark Elmes broke down more than once as he outlined how a lone farmer had taken on the might of pharma and the State in the past, and although the Supreme Court ultimately found in favour of John Hanrahan of Co Tipperary on three counts, the victory came at great personal expense to the Hanrahan family.
Mr Elmes, former president of the Rotary Club of Cork, was comparing the plight of locals living in Cork Harbour opposed to incineration to the Hanrahan case. In this case, he said, the Supreme Court had established a precedent ruling that “incineration of toxic chemicals, is, in law, to be understood as the most likely explanation for any appearance of ill health in the immediate area of the operation”.
Hendrick Verwey, chairman of Cobh Tourism Ltd, said Indaver’s proposals would damage, in “an insidious way”, plans to develop tourism in Cork Harbour. He said the Cork Tourism Strategy had buy-in from both local people and the State and “the proposed incinerator has no such support”. He said the elevation of the incinerator was the issue.
“Even if this building is wafer-thin it would protrude onto the skyline,” he said.
Experts for Indaver say it will not have a negative impact and that the harbour has continually showed its capacity for co-existence of all uses, “which would ensure it is positioned as an authentic, compelling and dynamic visitor destination”.
Mr Verwey described this claim, by architect John Kelly on behalf of Indaver, as “mad”.
Derek Chambers, of Cork Environmental Alliance, described Indaver as “like a demented stalker that stalks the community”. He said there had never been a baseline health study done in the Cork Harbour area despite the long-term exposure of residents to heavy industry.
Oliver Moran, secretary of the Cork Green Party, said if Bottlehill is chosen as the landfill to accept bottom ash from Ringaskiddy, it would result in trucks travelling along the North Ring Road through large suburbs such as Tivoli, Mayfield, Ballyvolane, and the Glen. Bottlehill is one of four sites proposed by Indaver as possible destinations for bottom ash.
Lorna Hyde, daugher of artist Gladys Leach, who passed away aged 97 in 2014, said the family was planning a retrospective of her mother’s work on the centenary of her birth.
“Her work is an historical record of Cork and the harbour and it would be nice to celebrate without sharing this beauty with Indaver,” she said.
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