At todays Oral Hearing, (10 May, Day 13) a collective gasp was heard from the audience as Indaver Ireland admitted that they are not equipped to firefight for more than 2 hours, with emergency firewater tanks onsite holding just 2,200m3 of water and a fire which is not quenched in 2 hours is considered a ‘worst case scenario’.
Speaking for Indaver Ireland, Conor Jones, Meath Plant Manager, confirmed the onsite firefighting capacity, despite the fact that details of a fire burning for six days and requiring local area evacuation are outlined in Indavers HAZID (Hazard Identification) report and the reality that the recent explosion at the Indaver Antwerp plant was attended to by 60 firefighters and took almost 4 hours to get under control.
The HAZID report was prepared by Byrne Ó Cléirigh for Indaver and submitted as part of the planning application. (For more information on HAZID report read Peter Daly former Chief Emergency Management Officer of the HSE submission presented on 25 April)
CHASE Solicitor Joe Noonan raised the clause in the HAZID report which disclaims responsibility by Byrne Ó Cléirigh and the additional statement that it was ‘confidential to the client’, who should rely on it ‘at their own risk’. Mr Noonan asked if the participation in the hearing by Byrne Ó Cléirigh meant that they now set aside that disclaimer. Mr Rory Mulcahy, Senior Council for Indaver excused the disclaimer as ‘standard practice’.
CHASE Chairperson Mary O’Leary said “It is of huge concern that Indaver have provision to fight fire for only 2 hours, then give up and leave it smoulder for up to six days, with no further emergency provision confirmed. It shows a complete lack of concern for those living in proximity or downwind of the proposed facility.”
Questions will continue tomorrow with Department of Defence expected to return, and air emissions and health impact on humans scheduled for discussion. At this stage the hearing looks likely to continue into next week.