18 August 2020
Green Party Councillor Lorna Bogue has urged the Minister for Defence to bring the longstanding issue of the Ringaskiddy incinerator before cabinet and “do the right thing for Cork”.
Ms Bogue, who represents Cork City South East, issued the call in light of planning laws which recently stopped the extension of the Russian embassy on the grounds that would it be considered ‘harmful to the security and defence of the State’ under Section 27 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018.
“In 2016, the Department of Defence said that the Ringaskiddy incinerator posed a risk of fire hazards trapping personnel on base, and could interfere with flight paths,” Ms Bogue said.
“I would think fire hazards and interrupting flight paths from the only Naval base in the State would constitute being ‘harmful to the security and defence of the State’”, she continued.
Minister Simon Coveney can bring the issue to Cabinet under current legislation, and Ms Bogue noted that “three of the four TDs in Cork South Central are Ministers at present, including the Taoiseach”.
Ms. Bogue, who is also a co-chair of the newly formed Just Transition Greens, also raised the point that the controversial incinerator was not addressed in the Programme for Government, despite, “Minister Coveney & McGrath and An Taoiseach Martin opposing the incinerator since 2018”.
“It’s long past the time for the government to intervene,” and the proper justification is there to “do what’s right by the people of Cork” in addressing the issue, she concluded.
The problems surrounding the incinerator’s construction
The waste management company Indaver were granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanala in 2018 for the incinerator in the Cork Harbour town of Ringaskiddy, which is within proximity to the Irish Navy base in Haulbowline.
The planning authority granted the permission despite the recommendation of its own inspector to refuse it on grounds that included air quality protection.
A challenge to the decision was brought by the Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) to the High Court last year, but a judgment has yet to be delivered.
At the time of the board’s decision, then-Tánaiste Simon Coveney expressed disappointment and frustration with the outcome, but the Board maintained their opinion that the development was in line with national and European waste management policy.
The controversy surrounding the incinerator has spanned over two decades, as Indaver has been attempting to construct the plant since 2001.
If built, the incinerator would have the capacity to transform 240,000 tonnes of industrial and household waste into 25 megawatts of electricity per year.
Want to find out more about the people who have been fighting against the incinerator’s construction? Check out Shamim’s feature where she spoke to Linda Fitzpatrick of the Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE).