Statutory business was suspended for a time at Cork County Council on Monday 11 June, to discuss the fallout from a decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant permission to Indaver for a 240,000 tonne waste to energy incinerator in Cork Harbour.
The suspension of statutory business was called for by Fianna Fail Cllr Seamus McGrath who said “the decision was a devastating blow to the community.”
The Fianna Fail leader in Cork County said that Councillors should support a T-shirt campaign organised to help fund a judicial review by Cork Harbour for A Safe Environment (CHASE), who have been opposing the Indaver project for almost two decades.
Mr McGrath added that a photo shoot should be arranged to send out a strong message that Cork County Council representatives are “fully square behind the community in opposing the development.”
“Yet again we had an inspector who went through every scintilla of evidence, listened carefully to the communities, sided with the communities and recommended this be refused on a number of grounds, but regrettably board members decided to overturn the inspector” he said.
Fine Gael Cllr Susan McCarthy said the decision to grant permission for the incinerator in Ringaskiddy was “100% the wrong location” as it jarred with the Council’s plan to develop the Harbour as a maritime haven.
“We are looking to drive numbers up and bring people away from Dublin, and the way we are doing that is by concentrating on the fact that we have the second largest natural Harbour in the world.”
She said “the communities, in this instance, have been entirely disregarded.”
Independent Cllr Alan Coleman, Chairman of the County’s Tourism Special Purposes Committee, said he disagreed with the notion that tourism and industrial development are not mutually compatible.
He said “Dublin is now the biggest tourism spot in Ireland. In the 1960’s it would have been the West of Ireland. Tourists flock to built-up areas nowadays, the fact that you have strong major industrial development is not incompatible in growth in tourism as well.”
Cllr Coleman added “An Bord Pleanála have to follow National policy as laid out by the Oireachtas, and that policy dictates that incineration is acceptable.”
He said “if it happens to land on your own doorstep, then the Oireachtas members who support National policy don’t seem to like it when it effects them locally, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.”
Fianna Fail Cllr Mary Rose Desmond said the decision by An Bord Pleanála was “disgraceful and wrong on every level”
“It was the most anti-democratic process ever witnessed in the whole process from start to finish in the last 18 years.”
“To have an application come before the people 3 times and to have 3 inspectors recommend refusal to have the Board overturn those decisions, beggars belief. The most recent report shows it’s not consistent with Harbour development. The consequences are not just for those in the Harbour area. This has consequences far and wide right across Cork. “
Fine Gael Cllr Anthony Barry said “to find that the monies that have been spent and the work that has been done to reinvigorate our Harbour area to make it the prime tourism area that it is, and then plant an incinerator in the middle of that, is an absolute disgrace.”
Cllr Marcia Dalton, an Environmental Engineer who was wearing an anti-incineration T-Shirt said tens of thousands had, and continue, to oppose the Indaver plan.
The Independent Cllr said those living in the environs of Cork Harbour should have a say regarding its future, as she called for the establishment of a Special Strategic Local Area Plan.
At present four Municipal Districts have an individual say in how parts of the Harbour are developed.
Cllr Dalton said the creation of a Special Strategic Area Plan would bring fresh opportunities for the Harbour, and ensure that the second largest Harbour in the world would no longer be planned for piecemeal.
Sinn Féin Cllr Eoughan Jeffers received cross party support for his call to have the Minister for the Environment, Denis Naughten, reintroduce an incineration levy.
The Cllrs requeted that their “deep and profound disappointment” at An Bord Pleanála decision, be recorded in the Minutes.