JOHN AHERN of Indaver Ireland, (Irish Examiner Letters, November 11) would like us to believe that all is well. His job is to sell incinerators and make huge profits for his overseas shareholders.
Indaver did apply for an import licence to bring waste into the country. If they build, the Government, under EU law, will not be able to stop them importing waste to burn. The companies which take our waste do so because it makes them huge profits.
We want a moratorium on incineration until we have exhausted safer, better technologies.
Ireland has one of the lowest recycling rates in Europe.
The by-products of incineration - particulate matter, heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic, and dioxins which are known carcinogens - cause major health problems.
Indaver in Belgium was 1,800 times over their EU limits in 2002. Belgium has the highest levels of dioxins in Europe. In 2000 the Belgian poultry industry was closed down as a result of contamination by dioxins and it cost the country tens of millions of euro.
No pharmaceutical or chemical company supported Indaver’s application. Twenty-four different groups, 30,000 people, and Cork county council opposed it.
Mr Ahern has dismissed concerns, stating that An Bord Pleanála, the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) and the EPA all believe that the site is appropriate. But site selection does not come under the remit of either the HSA or the EPA.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) sets out 14 criteria for site selection which are designed to reduce the threat to public safety. This site failed on 13 out of the 14 criteria. One of the criteria was flooding. This site was under several feet of salt water recently - proof that it fails under WHO site selection criteria.
An Bord Pleanála’s senior inspector expressed concern about site suitability.
He stated: “There is some reason to believe... that the location of Ringaskiddy, and possibly subject site itself, had already been chosen before the applicants even became aware of the WHO guidelines.”
He concluded that the site was “fundamentally unsuitable” and said it was contrary to national and county policy, and a risk to public safety.
An Bord Pleanála, which is made up of political appointees, chose to ignore the inspector’s advice.
Irish Examiner - 18/11/04
Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment