Cork Councillors seek return of incinerator levy

Cork county councillors are to ask the Government to reintroduce an incineration levy following a decision to grant Indaver planning permission for an incinerator in Ringaskiddy.

They have also vowed to turn up at their next meeting wearing T-shirts supporting the judicial review being sought against the decision.

Standing orders were suspended at a council meeting in County Hall yesterday after Cllr Seamus McGrath raised the issue. He described the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant Indaver as “a devastating blow” to harbour communities who’d fought against the project for many years.

We need to support the wide community which will be affected. The community will be fighting this hard. It will go into the judicial process which will be hugely costly. We should support the community by wearing the T-shirts,” said Cllr McGrath.

“Yet again we had an inspector who sat through an oral hearing and went through every scintilla of evidence and recommended it be refused. But board members regrettably overruled him. They didn’t sit through one minute of the evidence.”

Cllr Mary Rose Desmond described the decision as “absolutely disgraceful”.

“It was the most anti-democratic process I ever witnessed. This is the third time an inspector turned it down. The consequences will be far and wide across Cork. I have very little faith in where the process has gone,” she said.

Cllr Marcia D’Alton, an environmental engineer, said tens of thousands of people had opposed the Indaver plan. She was wearing one of the T-shirts which objectors CHASE (Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment) are selling to fund their judicial review.

Each inspector said the site was not suitable. We had five weeks of the last oral hearing [the latest of three] and five people overturned the inspector’s decision. The plume [from the incinerator] will be the first thing cruise liner passengers will see when they enter the harbour,” Cllr D’Alton said. “This will be going to a judicial review and we’re determined it will not go ahead.

Cllr Eoghan Jeffers said as a local authority, they were all “unified in their opposition” to the Indaver plan.

He won unanimous support from colleagues when he said they should ask the Government to reintroduce a levy on incineration.

Cllr Susan McCarthy said the fight against the Indaver project had been going on for 17 years. “I am wholeheartedly opposed to this. It is 100% the wrong location. The big thing is what we’re doing to the tourism potential of this county. We’re looking to market Cork as a maritime haven. We’re the second largest natural harbour in the world. The communities around it have been entirely disregarded in their opposition.”

As part of the debate, councillors read into the record their “deep and profound disappointment” at An Bord Pleanála’s decision.

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