Taking time out from Government formation negotiations, a full house of Cork South Central TD’s were present at this mornings Oral Hearing, with Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Defence speaking first, followed by Michael Martin TD, leader of Fianna Fail, then Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, newly elected TD. Michael McGrath, TD FF, will speak at a later time and former TD Jerry Buttimer was also present lending his support.
Opening with detailed and comprehensive presentation Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine outlined the multiple changes that have taken place in Cork Harbour with significant development and investment in Haulbowline, Spike Island, the National Maritime Colllege of Ireland and related tourism, education and research projects which are part of policy transforming the harbour into a new zone for education, research and tourism and clean energy. Read statement
Minister Coveney said Indavers proposed development would “fundamentally compromise government policy in all these projects”. Referencing the first ever Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland “Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth”, an inter-departmental plan published by Government in 2012, shortly after the 2011 Bord Pleanala refusal of Indavers incinerator, Minister Coveney delivered a detailed history of the National Policies underpinning the three harbour masterplans totalling €100m in Government investment and expected to deliver in the region of 4,000 jobs. He said that the incinerator would undermine the capacity to deliver on these jobs and investment and that “the broader interests of the harbour should not be ignored”. Minister Coveney also re-iterated the Department of Defence statement on Friday which outlined that Haulbowline Naval base would be rendered inoperable under South Westerly wind conditions.
Micheal Martin, TD, Fianna Fail leader, highlighted additionally that the residential community of Ringaskiddy has been engaged with industry since the late 1980’s and have demonstrated “resilience, strength and reasonableness”. He said that if this incinerator goes ahead “the capacity of the community to live and go about their daily lives will be affected”. Mr Martin stated how the provision of the incinerator would irreparably damage the ‘New Vista’ for the Harbour because it would fly in the face of the developments positioning Cork Harbour at the centre of education, tourism and research in the Maritime area. He said that there were “fundamental conflicts at the heart of the County Development Plan” and that there was no planning imperative for this incinerator in this location.
Calling on Bord Pleanala to make the decision on Cork Harbour of the future, not on Cork Harbour of the past, newly elected Sinn Fein TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said “There is absolute unanimity among public representatives about the damage this could do the area with 55 local councillors with all 4 TD’s and former TD’s standing against it. I reemphasise that it would be rather perverse to see that an Incinerator, with all the risks, hazards and potential implications for the local environment, would be located almost side by side with a world class research facility examining Wave Energy, with clean, 21st Century Energy being researched adjacent to an incinerator. It slants the planning process against local communities and railroads developments.” Additionally he criticised the Strategic Infrastructure process in removing the local authorities who have a particular local knowledge, and said it is particularly unfair that it can be used three times. Read Statement.
Michael McGrath is due to speak at a later time.
CHASE Chairperson Mary O’Leary welcomed this mornings presentations saying “Our TD’s and Minister came to the Oral Hearing today and put it to the Bord Pleanala in uncategorical terms that the proposed development conflicts in total with the direction which successive Governments have planned, developed policy and allocated funding for in that zone. They also warned clearly that should it be granted, that progress will be damaged.”
Presentations were also made this morning by Cobh Solicitor Frank Kelleher, PDForra, NMCI lecturer Jodi Power, and research staff from nearby MaREI marine energy research campus.
Presentations scheduled for tomorrow morning include CHASE experts:
- Vyvyan Howard, Toxico-pathologist and expert in the field of nano particles, who will present evidence relating to health effects and
- Colm MacDowell, M.Sc., Aff IChemE, MCIWM, D.G.S.A. will present on Waste Management