Silent protest over harbour incinerator plan

Opponents of plans for a €160m incinerator in Cork Harbour staged a silent protest yesterday as Prince Charles visited the harbour area.

Gardaí kept a close but discreet eye on the hundreds of campaigners who lined the streets of Ringaskiddy as the prince and his entourage passed by on a visit to the National Maritime College of Ireland and the Irish Naval Service HQ in Haulbowline, both of which are close to the site of the controversial proposed development. 

Waste firm Indaver secured permission from An Bord Pleanála last month to build the facility on a 13-hectare site close to the naval base.

Gertie O’Driscoll, of the Ringaskiddy Residents’ Association, said they wanted to use the royal visit to send a message to the world’s media accompanying the prince that the people of Ringaskiddy will fight plans for the incinerator.

The previous night, a huge anti-incinerator banner was draped from the roof of a former Grand Parade hotel, opposite the English Market, but it was removed before the royal couple arrived.

Campaign group CHASE and the Ringaskiddy Residents Association have been campaigning against the development of an incinerator since Indaver lodged its first planning application in 2001.

However, last month after a third oral hearing, a third inspector recommending refusal of planning, and months of delay in announcing its decision, An Bord Pleanála said its board had voted 5:2 in favour of granting planning to the project under the fast-track strategic infrastructure process.

CHASE launched a massive campaign to fund a judicial review of the decision. Hundreds of harbour town residents have attended public meetings in recent weeks and CHASE is setting up a Cork city branch.

Its legal advisers are preparing their case, while a GoFundMe drive has, in a few weeks, raised more than €50,000 for a judicial review of the planning decision. 

Residents say they are on course to seek leave for the review before the July 19 deadline.

Indaver says its energy facility, which will burn 240,000 tonnes of waste a year, including 24,000 tonnes of hazardous waste, will not import waste. 

The company has been granted a 10-year planning permission timeframe for the facility and a 30-year operational lifetime.

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