The chief inspector overseeing the oral hearing into a proposed incinerator for Cork Harbour will provide an update on Monday over whether the meetings can continue amid claims the initial application is invalid.
Derek Daly, who is chairing the hearing, faced numerous calls for the process to be adjourned until a decision is made on whether an error by Indaver Ireland in its application forms renders it invalid.
Joe Noonan, a solicitor representing Chase (Cork Harbour Area for a Safe Environment), pointed out how the name ‘Indaver Ireland Ltd’ was used on the form, but the name ‘Indaver Ireland’ was used on public notices and elsewhere.
He claimed Indaver Ireland Ltd is not a legal entity and therefore could not be used to apply for planning permission for the €160m facility in Ringaskiddy.
Indaver said it was a clerical error that does not render the application invalid.
At the hearing in Carrigaline, Co Cork, Lorna Bogue, a Green Party candidate in the general election, argued that if an individual had filed the application under an incorrect name, they would be expected to reapply for permission.
“It is only fair and just that a company, especially a company that is proposing a project that has such wide-ranging public health risks, be placed under the same scrutiny,” said Ms Bogue, adding that she was presenting her questions “under protest”.
Gertie O’Driscoll, a local resident, pressed Mr Daly on the issue. “Is this valid or invalid? If this is invalid we are all wasting our time.”
Mr Daly said he had noted what Mr Noonan had said earlier in the week on the issue and that he may need to seek further advice on the matter. “It would be wrong to give an instant response to it,” he said, as it was “a matter of significance”.
Ms O’Driscoll asked that information be provided on Monday, with people in favour then standing up in the venue in a show of support.
Mr Daly said: “I will have further discussion over the weekend,” adding that a counter-argument had been made by Indaver.
Signalling that he will seek legal advice, he said: “I will give an update on where I stand at the beginning of proceedings [on Monday]. That is all I can offer and it is not unreasonable.”
Yesterday’s hearing also featured a contribution from Fr Sean O’Sullivan, of the harbour parish. He said Ringaskiddy was “more than an industrial area” and referred to past pollution in the area, claiming residents had “already suffered the consequences of poor planning, lack of regulation, and poor enforcement”.
“They are saying ‘enough is enough’,” said Fr O’Sullivan.
Aisling O’Callaghan said Ireland is already due to miss greenhouse gas emission targets and projects such as the incinerator — with 12,000 trucks used to carry material — are one unhelpful side-effect.
Earlier, Ms Bogue said there would be a HGV movement every 5.9 minutes in Ringaskiddy village if the plan went ahead, with no clarity regarding provision of pedestrian crossings.
Indaver said the World Health Organisation had deemed incineration a hygienic method of dealing with waste.
Fine Gael TD David Stanton said he was concerned that worsening traffic situations at points such as the Jack Lynch Tunnel and Dunkettle interchange would deteriorate further were the project allowed. He said upgrades should be completed before any decision is made on permission for it.
He said the nature of Cork Harbour had changed since the project was first floated and that local factors such as agriculture and work at the IMERC maritime facility could be adversely affected if the incinerator gets the green light.
Indaver said it was sure the facility would not have a negative effect on tourism or other developments.
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