Green leader in meetings over second incinerator for city


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 constituency.

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 said.

Energy Answers has said that the facility - described as a 'Resource Recovery Project' - would operate to the highest environmental standards, with all waste operations occurring indoors.

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' Baldonnell Aerodrome.

For more information, see Energy Answers' Press Release - Click Here

See also the project website - N7 Resource Recovery Project

Source - The Irish Independent