Social media post sparks anger over waste permits at Cork city site

Locals expressed anger when they thought a new facility had been granted a licence for a waste facility in Churchfield 
Social media post sparks anger over waste permits at Cork city site

Independent councillor Ken O'Flynn: 'They are the dangers of social media, people with false accounts being able to put up loads of information that isn't verified or checked.' Picture: Denis Minihane

A misleading social media post generated widespread anger online after claims Cork City Council granted approval for a new waste management facility in Churchfield Industrial Estate on the northside of the city. 

The post claimed approval had been granted for a new waste management facility, operated by Redfox Recycling, in a residential and recreational area that already has several active waste management sites.  

However, Cork City Council officials confirmed to the Irish Examiner that the permit granted was only the renewal of a permit for an existing licensed waste management site. 

The facility was reopening after works on the existing site were completed. No new site is being established at Units 1 to 3 in Churchfield Industrial Estate. 

Council officials confirmed the renewal granted was for a permit first issued in 2009 and that the licensed facility's reopening has full planning permission from An Bord Pleanála. 

As part of this process for the permit's renewal, comment was open to the public to make a submission. However, none were received. 

Social media post

The social media post published a picture of the waste facility permit issued on April 16, 2021, along with a statement questioning the decision. 

The statement said said "a new skip company" had been granted a permit and asked how such a thing could be allowed to happen.

Anger erupted in reaction to the post, with local representatives receiving multiple queries from residents in the area. There have been long-running tensions between communities and the city council over the operation of waste management sites in the residential area. 

In 2019, An Bord Pleanála ruled the development of a separate civic amenity site would result in an "excessive concentration" of waste facilities in the John F Connolly road area. 

"It's saturated already with this type of industry which is causing stress and anxiety to some people," said Sinn Féin councillor Kenneth Collins. He described the local response as understandable. 

"I think the confusion is that the site hasn't been [used] for a number of years but the permit was still on the site," said independent councillor Ken O'Flynn.

"Social media being what it is and false news being what is, and not checking out stuff [...] They are the dangers of social media, people with false accounts being able to put up loads of information that isn't verified or checked."

Meanwhile, two managed property companies have said composting and recycling facilities will be provided to residents after a social media campaign prompted a city council investigation into three locations. 

Residents' complaints

Powell Properties and Absolute Properties were subjected to residents' complaints about the unavailability of waste disposal, recycling, and composting bins. 

Both companies said facilities would be provided but cited the difficulties in managing cross-contamination of waste disposal units as the reasons for their facilities' removal. 

Lockdowns have also resulted in more household waste, according to the companies. 

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