The Irish Independent has reported that Green Ministers
John Gormley and Eamon Ryan held meetings with representatives
of a US company seeking to build another incinerator in Dublin.
The Energy Answers company's proposed €200m facility
off the N7 motorway in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, would compete
with the planned Poolbeg incinerator in Mr Gormley's own constituency.
Locals have expressed fears that Mr Gormley would prefer to
have the Rathcoole facility running, so that the Poolbeg incinerator
would not be needed.
A spokesman for Minister Gormley said the meeting was purely
for the purposes of learning about the project. "The department
does not give any sort of blessing to any specific development,
because the department and the minister are absolutely precluded
from involvement in the planning process" - he added.
Minister Gormley was strongly opposed to incineration and
committed to making recycling the 'cornerstone' of
waste policy, he said.
Details of the meetings came to light in response to a parliamentary
question by Fine Gael Senator Frances Fitzgerald and Green
Party TD Paul Gogarty, who attended protest meetings against
the proposed Rathcoole incinerator in their Dublin Mid-West
Minister Gormley met Anne Butler, an environmental consultant
hired by Energy Answers, last July. Previously, she was a
director of the Environmental Protection Agency for 10 years
and president of the Institute of Engineers for one year.
Minister Ryan met the company in January, but said this was
essentially a "listening exercise".
Energy Answers was able to bypass traditional planning
procedures after An Bord Pleanála ruled, last December,
that its project was a strategic infrastructural development.
It is awaiting a Bord Pleanála hearing as opposition
grows in Rathcoole.
Rathcoole Community Council spokesman Sean Reid said 400
people had attended a meeting last month in protest at the
incinerator plans. His group previously warned that Mr Gormley
might want the Rathcoole incinerator built before the Poolbeg
incinerator. "People can't help wondering and possibly there
would be an element of people putting two and two together.
But the indications were given by representatives of his party
that Mr Gormley is not (in favour of the incinerator)" - he
Energy Answers has said that the facility - described
as a 'Resource Recovery Project' - would operate to
the highest environmental standards, with all waste operations
A spokeswoman confirmed that Ms Butler met Mr Gormley on
behalf of the company, but said this had been purely to inform
him about the project.
The company has secured an undertaking from the Department
of Defence that it will not object to the incinerator, which
would be sited less than five kilometres from the Air Corps'
For more information, see Energy Answers' Press Release
See also the project website - N7
Resource Recovery Project
Source - The Irish Independent