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No to Toxic Waste Incinerators for Cork Harbour

category national | environment | feature author Friday September 02, 2005 04:18author by Miriam Cotton Report this post to the editors

Stop the Burn say C.H.A.S.E.

Protestors holding BannerWhy is it that Irish governments are addicted to importing ideas long recognised as abject failures - even in the countries in which they originate?

For the last 20 years, for instance, US authorities and industries have been abandoning the use of incinerators as a form of waste management because of the severity of the health and environmental damage they most definitely cause. Local populations in the US have defeated more than 300 incinerator proposals and the industry is now virtually extinct there. About 500 have been shut down in Japan – a country that has traditionally been heavily reliant on incineration. In Europe, according to a report by the Global Anti Incinerator Alliance, the emphasis has been on using alternative waste management techniques which in the most successful cases have resulted in an actual reduction in the amount of waste needing disposal – despite growing populations.

But Paddy is always anxious to make a big fool of himself. During that same period in Ireland, naturally, we have built commercial and other incinerators around our small country as if they were going out of style – which of course they are - and in spite of ferocious opposition to them from virtually every community in which they have been sited. In a country this size and in the context of all that is known about their dangers this is – or should be – a matter of national outrage. Nevertheless, our government is again (greetings to the 5) smirking, flirting and generally prostituting itself to another rapacious industry by facilitating a deal that will surely injure health and kill many people in this country if it is allowed to go ahead. As with the Dutch and Norwegian oil companies in Mayo (Shell and Statoil), Indaver in Belgium must not be able to believe their luck. No other European country is allowing them to do as they are doing in Ireland.

Chase LogoThe Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) has been campaigning against the development of not one, but two, large toxic/hazardous waste incinerators at Ringaskiddy in Co Cork by a company calling itself Indaver Ireland – a ‘subsidiary’ of the Belgian parent company. Support for CHASE has been gathering momentum in communities and towns all around the harbour and further afield during the last four years. Map of Harbour showing CHASE groups The city itself is just minutes as the crow flies from the proposed site of the incinerators. In January 2004, without any investigation into the significance for their health of the local population - and in defiance of World Health Organisation guidelines, its own planning authority inspector and a petition presented by CHASE (signed by no fewer than 30K people and unprecedented in the history of planning objections) - nine of the ten un-elected and unaccountable government appointees at An Bord Pleanala overturned an earlier rejection of the proposal by Cork County Council. The Board’s members, who have no experience of incineration waste management, ignored the rejection of the incinerator plan by their own inspector, Mr Philip Jones, on 14 different planning grounds. The only evidence the Board appeared to accept was that of Indaver - who stand to make immense profits if they are allowed to proceed. Vested interests ride again.

In October 2004 the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) issued a draft licence to Indaver. The EPA is an agency with a worrying track record on monitoring and responding to environmental threats – not least of which was a recent spill of 260 tonnes of caustic soda into Cork Harbour. It was not until several weeks later that the public discovered about it – by accident. The EPA itself, despite not having even been notified by the company in question at the time of the spill, was ‘satisfied’ there was no risk to public health and nothing untoward in its emergency policies and processes. Staggeringly, the agency had decided there was no necessity to alert the public. Unaware of the potential danger to them, a large group of children began a sailing course in the same part of the harbour in which the spill occurred just two days later. There have been numerous other incidents raising all the same concerns. This, then, is the agency who are entrusted with protecting our environment and who are falling over themselves to insist that incineration is safe. In a wonderful example of self-serving logic, the Director General of the EPA, Dr Mary Kelly (formerly of IBEC fame) has cited the EPA’s earlier approval of three smaller incinerators in the harbour (already in operation) as evidence for their safety! ‘I approve therefore I am’ must be their motto. This is the same Mary Kelly who apparently saw no conflict of interest in the appointment of Ms Laura Burke, a former Project Manager at Indaver, as a Director of the EPA – three months before the draft licence to Indaver was granted. We are assured that Ms Burke is ‘not involved in any decision’ relating to the Indaver incinerators. And I can see pigs flying in the sky as I type.

Perhaps emboldened by the sheer brass neck of the EPA and An Bord Pleanala, Mr Dick Roche, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, is now looking at ways of ‘improving’ the planning process so as, presumably, to make it less embarrassing for his colleagues and their corporate chums to do this sort of thing in future - and even less accountable than they already are. That would certainly be consistent with Bertie Ahern’s now infamous observation in China (a country not exactly renowned for its record on democracy, justice and human rights) that he:

‘would like to have the power of the Mayor [of Shanghai]…I would just like that we can get through the consultation problem as quickly as possible’. (Jan 2005)

There it is, plain as day. He must have thought we couldn’t hear him from China. Why is consultation with his own citizens ‘a problem’ for the foremost, elected people’s representative of Ireland? Will the Belgian company’s plans for Cork Harbour ultimately go through on the nod?

This article can scarcely do justice to the multiple considerations which the incinerator proposal raises. CHASE have an excellent, user-friendly website which carries comprehensive information about every aspect of the project – including environmental data, legal and planning issues, press reports, various links to similar campaigns in other countries, and more besides. Anyone who lives in the ‘catchment area’ of an incinerator (which must be virtually everyone in the country by now) should visit the CHASE website.

A summary of some of the alarming facts about hazardous waste incineration (which neither the government nor Indaver will ever tell you about) is given below:

  • The incinerator that does not emit dioxins has not been built. Dioxins are the most dangerous toxin known to man & there is no safe level.
    (U.S. E.P.A.)
  • Dioxins cause, cancer in adults, developmental defects in children, genetic & birth defects.
    (US EPA)
  • Zero levels now recommended by US EPA
    (US Congress report 2000)
  • Mass incineration is the primary cause of dioxins in the environment
    (UN Environment Programme)
  • Incinerators are responsible for 70% of all dioxins produced
    (Stockholm Convention, 2001)
  • Incineration an “unacceptable risk to public health
    (Irish Doctors Environmental Association)
  • Indaver Ireland has no personnel with experience in running, operating or monitoring incinerators.
    (Oral Hearing)
  • This incinerator will be monitored – from Belgium!
    (Oral Hearing evidence)
  • Ireland does not have adequate monitoring facilities: Irish Health Research Bureau
    (HRB Report 2003)
  • English average emission limits exceeded 553 times!
    (UK Govt)
  • Indaver Belgium – emission limit exceeded by factor of 1,800 – August ’02! Plant temporarily closed.
    (Source Indaver)
  • The inspector said “He was not satisfied that the incinerator would not pose a significant risk to public safety, if there is an accident
    (An Bord Pleanala Report)
  • For every 1M tonnes of toxic waste burnt 333,000 tonnes of toxic ash will have to be exported.
    (ratio admitted by Indaver, An Bord Pleanala Oral Hearing)
  • Ireland only produces 15-20,000 tonnes of hazardous waste for incineration.
    (Irish EPA)
  • Where is the extra hazardous waste going to come from?
  • There is no Irish or E.U. law that can prevent the company importing waste.
  • ‘Cork produces less than 10% of the waste targeted for the burner’.
    (EPA Data base 2001)

From this it’s clear that, far from being about any obligation in respect of Irish hazardous waste as the government are claiming, Indaver are being encouraged to build their incinerators with a view to importing massive amounts of hazardous waste from other countries. The proposal would not make commercial sense for them otherwise because the capacity of the incinerators will greatly exceed what would be needed for Ireland’s waste if we insist on not using alternatives. Indaver themselves admit there are health and environmental risks – but prefer to divert attention to the spurious idea that these are being ‘exaggerated’, are ‘not significant’ and are only being promoted by people who ‘don’t understand’. The consensus ranged against Indaver on these points is gigantic – and still growing. As we have seen, even the EPA in the US does not agree with them. Silky arguments are presented about ‘improved’ standards and technology and careful monitoring but they are short on precise, accurate information about their exact nature and on the undoubted continuing impact of incinerators on the environment and on health – whichever model is used.

A view of Cork HarbourEverything about this plan is worrying. The chosen site is, against WHO guidelines, in an area with thousands of employees, adjacent to a maritime college of 700 students, right on top of the village of Ringaskiddy, minutes from scores of other villages, towns, schools, shopping centres, farms and on land liable to flooding – as happened last winter. True to form, it seems that Minister McDowell is once again considering Spike Island (virtually beside the site) as a suitable location for another prison. Spike had been closed shortly before the original planning permission was submitted – which is ‘lucky’ because it would have been a difficult obstacle to overcome at the time. Does the Minister know something we don’t that he is allegedly confident enough to pursue these plans? Is it all a foregone conclusion? Perhaps the health risks for the inmates of the prison could be regarded as an additional aspect of their punishment? ‘You are sentenced to two years, plus annual inhalation of several kilograms of poisonous dioxins.’ Capital punishment by default?

Waste management is something that can only be resolved if government take the lead in creating safe, integrated, national and local alternatives to existing waste management schemes. But there is no escaping the responsibility that each of us carries for dealing with this situation. We have reached critical mass in Ireland and will choke, literally, in our own and other country’s dioxin pollution if we don’t do something urgently. Industrial, commercial and agricultural waste producers need urgently to clean up their act – at every point of whatever processes they use. As individuals, we have to reduce our present levels of consumption of things we do not need to help preserve diminishing natural resources. We need to reduce the amount of waste we generate and – most importantly – we need to recycle as much of our waste as possible. But, of course, on this last point we run up against government incompetence and indifference, again. Recycling in Ireland is a sham. Virtually everywhere facilities are both inadequate and extremely inconvenient to get to. Why can we not have collections for our recycled waste, as other countries do? At the same time, collection of waste that can’t be recycled has been made prohibitively expensive for many people and civil disobedience has resulted in Dublin and other places: this, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. People are dumping their rubbish on verges and in back streets and it’s not uncommon to see people casually throwing litter from their cars or dropping it in public places without a qualm. We now have a damaging but deserved reputation as an untidy and dirty country.

At the time of writing, the decision of the EPA as to granting a full licence to Indaver is awaited. In the meantime, the High Court has granted leave for judicial review of An Bord Pleanala’s bizarre decision to overturn Cork County Council’s rejection of the project. This has obviously put the brakes on the situation temporarily but careful scrutiny of the actions of Minister Roche with regard to altering the planning process will be needed. Does anyone care to take any bets about alterations of the process favourable to Indaver? Will attempts be made to render judicial review irrelevant? Watch this space.

Related Links (added by Indymedia editor):

Related Link: http://www.chaseireland.org/
author by Greenbackpublication date Thu Sep 01, 2005 15:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

See this link for details of a campaign to end incineration of waste in Europe:


author by Terrypublication date Thu Sep 01, 2005 21:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors


First off, I appreciate your timely article. Regarding the source of the waste stream for the planned incinerator in Cork

‘Cork produces less than 10% of the waste targeted for the burner’.
(EPA Data base 2001)

While I agree it is very likely or possible that the plan is to import waste for the incinerator, it has been my opinion that the intention is to divert the potentially recycable waste that is going to landfills and some of it to recycling to the incinerators.

The efforts and infrastructure at recycling have been miminal and not even half hearted at best. The government clearly do not want recycling to suceed and their are strong indications now that charges will be brought in for recycling. This will most likely lead to a reduction in recycling and hence to yet another waste crisis. This will be the moment possibly that the government press machine will try to convince the public that the ONLY way to deal with this is to recycle it in the incinerator(s).

That way they will have a steady stream of waste, especially since recycable waste contains stuff that you can burn like paper, cardboard, plastic wrapping and plastic bottles.

The government have no interest in reducing the use of plastic bottles. Not only that one of the biggest plastic recycling plants in Europe for PET plastic bottles called Wellman International have a factory up in Cavan. They import all the plastic waste for recycling for Europe. This facility has been here for years and I heard that mangement had contacted the councils to request to send them all the plastic bottles they could, since they had the capacity to take it all. Yet for years no effort was made to avail of this. Only in the last year or two have some very minor token efforts being made at plastic recycling.

To me the pattern of all this activity speaks of an agenda to make sure recycling fails in this country. Further the agenda seems to put in place a whole slew of incinerators that will be fed for ever more. The complete failure by the government NOT to bring in an excessive packaging levy guarantees that there will continue to be excessive amounts of waste produced, and so maintain the volumes for the newly privatised waste collection companies (hence the whole Bin Tax saga). Thus money can be made on creating the packaging, selling it, collecting the waste and yet more money on burning it.

Both the private companies and the government would shudder at the prospect that people recycled and volumes of waste continually fell. This would be a disaster for their plans. However the combination of no tax on excessive packaging, the privatisation of waste collection, the construction of incinerators and along with legislation in place such as the Orwellian named Environmental Protection Bill in 2003, ensure that we will all be locked into this system.

Sustainable living simply does not enter into the equation for these people.

author by Dee Foleypublication date Thu Sep 01, 2005 21:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It isn't fair that hard-pressed families should be made to feel responsible for the rubbish problem. I found a webiste today that says what companies and other commericial groups should be doing - and surely they are the ones who are causing the worst problems?


Supermarkets and other sorts of retailers are not doing enough - their merchandise is covered in packaging that we have to try to get rid of. Anyone who is seriously trying to recycle knows how much wrapping and other unnecessary rubbish we are forced to have to cope with. Why should we have this trouble and also pay for disposing of it?

author by B.A.N.A.N.A Man...publication date Fri Sep 02, 2005 00:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

‘You are sentenced to two years, plus annual inhalation of several kilograms of poisonous dioxins.’ Capital punishment by default?

You mean that there'll be so much dioxin being produced that the inmates lungs will just clog up and they'll die? !

author by karl roenfanz ( rosey )publication date Fri Sep 02, 2005 05:20author email k_rosey48 at hotmail dot comauthor address 1306 john evansville, ind. 47714 u.s.a.author phone Report this post to the editors

i've noticed that most of the weather paterns in the northern hemisphere travel from west to east. true ireland would be catching most of the polution. but a fair share would be traveling on to places like england and belguim. what would their kids and grandkids turn up looking like? poetic justice?

author by M Cottonpublication date Fri Sep 02, 2005 05:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You raise an extremely important issue - there were so many I could not get them all into the article. I agree completely that the government is deliberately sabotaging recycling and making it as difficult and expensive as possible. This strategy urgently needs to be exposed. If they are allowed to get away with it, it will be catastrophic for our health and environment. You have to ask yourself about the degree of ignorance and contempt these people demonstrate towards their own people and their country - that they can seriously contemplate doing this filthy thing to us. It's no exaggeration to say it is a national outrage against us all.
Keep posting on Indymedia - and anyone who has any other articles or information will hopefully do the same. Our national press imagines it is being 'balanced' by constantly writing articles about this that give credence to what the incinerator people are telling them and a lot of people are taken in by what they say.

author by mamie bowen - Monkstown, Glenbrook. Passage,C hasepublication date Fri Sep 02, 2005 11:05author email Mamike at eircom dot netauthor address Glenville, Monkstown, Co. Cork.author phone 021 4841036Report this post to the editors

There is no support from this government for sustainable jobs created by reducing, recycling, and reusing, instead all energy has been focused on burning our waste.
You have the vision of our county council workers flying by houses where there is no collection for them because of recycling or because an eco friendly private company is prepared to kerbside collect their waste, segregated. Could their vehicles not be converted to do this job or even to clean the streets as they collect. We have morgaged our environment and health for to-days greed, there will be no legacy to hand on to the future generations, we will have spent it all.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=71766
author by Johnpublication date Fri Sep 02, 2005 16:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If the Irish Government is so backward and governments in Europe are so progressive, how come countries in Europe are full of incinerators? You're always prattlling on about how countries like Denmark, Sweden, Germany etc care far more about the environment than the Irish Government. But, there have been incinerators in these countries for decades. Obviously recycling is good. But recycling will never take care of more than half the waste produced in a modern industrial country. No country in the world has achieved that target. That leaves only two methods of disposing of waste that is not recycled: either bury it in the ground or burn it off. If you know of another method, please specify. Some countries prefer the former, others prefer the latter. Only in Ireland do the same people oppose both. They simply want someone to wave a magic wand and make waste disappear. Or sneak it across the border and bury it in Northern Ireland. One day you'll grow up.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Fri Sep 02, 2005 17:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Europe has been pulling back from incineration for the last 20 years. They are not building them at the rate we are here. In fact they are not building them at all in most countries. Yes they rely on those that are there already (and are closing down others) but they are doing much more than we are about looking for and using alternatives. The population densities in Europe are too great to take any risks with. Its also politcally suicidal to promote incinerators - nobody wants them. Its only in Ireland that we have not yet woken up to what is being done to us. Your complacency is dangerous to yourself and to your family, whether you know it or not. And you overlook the lethal effects of incineration: it's deadly.

Your argument also assumes that we can go on consuming at current levels. If our grandchildren are to be able to breathe (and this is not an exaggeration) we will have to stop producing goods that create this sort of pollution. Already, levels of asthma and eczema are soaring. Whether we like it or not, our whole way of life is going to have to come in for radical reassessment in the short term. Take for example the common or garden can of fizzy drink. The pollution caused by the production of these cans is among the most damaging to our environment. Ever seen what an aluminium smelting plant does to everything in its vicinity? And for what? So we can pour a noxious substance into our bodies? That's worth losing our environment for,I suppose. These are the sorts of choices we are going to have to face. There are alternatives to incineration and they require effort and committment to make them work. The days of the disposable, convenience- orientated lifestyle are nearing their end. Frankly, Ill be glad to see the back of them, personally!

author by Brid Fitzgeraldpublication date Sat Sep 03, 2005 23:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes, Europe had many incinerators which were adopted as a form of waste management 20/30 years ago. At the time they seemed to be the answer to waste disposal. However 20/ 30 years on, we are now learning the problems related to mass incineration w.r.t. health and the environment ( EPA Oral Hearing 2005 )and the fact that it does not represent sustainable manageemt of our waste.
There are many new technologies / forms of waste management that are sustainable, create more jobs at a local level using the components of "waste" as the raw material and are safer and in keepinrg to our comminments to the Kyoto Agreements and such like.
Miriam's Quotes from the U.S.E.P.A. or the Stockholm Convention as to the reality of Mass incineration can be cross- referenced for authentication.if you are in doubt.

author by Mary Opublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 00:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Europe has many incinerators that are still operating as they have to fed with rubbish to pay the mortgage. Meanwhile many newer technologies have come on stream which many countries and municipal authoirities cannot benefit from, as they are married to incineration.
We in Ireland are fortunate in a way, to be coming to waste management at a late stage, as we can learn from other countries mistakes or successes w.r.t. waste management
It is not just a simple choice of bury or burn or recycle, it a question of proper waste management. Seperating waste streams, not alowing wastes that should never be accepted into landfill sites i.e. C and D waste, phasing out the use of products that cannot be recycled or reused and are carbon negative, must all be discouraged. There will always be a fraction that will have to be buried. The clever thinking would be to reduce this to a minimum, take out all reusables , recyclables , organics ( this is what causes leachate and serious environmental problems) etc. and bury the last inert fractions with which we can do no more. If you burn, you still have to bury the ash , which is toxic and has produced toxic emissions into the athmosphere in its creation., to boot. Furthermore to burn what can be raw materilas for sustailable indusrtries does not make sense.
There is no one solution, it is a multifaceted solution we are looking at . But it can be done , it needs committment and vision by our Government. We have lead the way with the plastic bag levy, with the smoking ban.....we could be a leader in waste management, we could show that we are clever in how we deal with our waste and have not followed blindly our less fortunate nieghbours.

author by John Ahern - Indaver Irelandpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 10:47author email jahern at indaver dot ieauthor address 4, Haddington Terrace, Dun Laoghaireauthor phone 01 2804534Report this post to the editors

Miriam you have got a numer of your facts completely wrong. Firstly we are not the type of company you describe in your article. We have been very open an available for debate on this issue. We have never hidden any facts. You will see in our publicly available EIS and website that we discuss issues such as dioxin openly. Incinerators were the greatest source of dioxin but now account for about 1% - check it out with the EU website. Europe no longer sees incineration as the dioxin problem - backyard burning and accidental fires are now probably the greatest threat.

We have the expertise to operate incinerators in Ireland as we do in other countries and the plants will not be "monitored from Belgium".

John is right about incineration in other countries. They use them and are still building them. Germany has doubled their capacity since 1990 as have many other countries. On this point you are way off the mark. Incineration is growing rapidly in Europe not decling. Incinerators are also being built in the USA - I can show you the pictures!!!! You are way out of touch with what is happening in the waste market.

Incineration is not the only solution to our waste problem. It is part of the soultion. I agree with you on one point that recycling is not growing fast enough. But you are blaming the wrong people. Its not the Government's fault. It is up to the Local Authorities to implement their Waste Management Plans. You seem to blame the Government for everything including the fact that people litter. Come on Miriam check the facts.

Related Link: http://www.indaver.ie
author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(Managing Director, Indaver Ireland for any readers who may not be aware)

You have mispreresented what I said. I didnt say incineration in Europe had ceased. I said as an overall strategy for dealing with waste it is being pulled back from. You give the lie to what you are saying yourself by claiming that it currently represents only 1% of dioxin pollution - and that levels are going down. At the same time you say that SOME countries are building incinerators! You cannot have it both ways. There is no such thing as an incinerator that doesnt emit dioxins. There is no such thing as a safe level of dioxin emission. Those are the hard, uncontestable facts. Will you build your house in Ringaskiddy and send your children to the local school? Will all of your staff? A number the things you say here are at odds with Indaver's own submissions at two oral hearings. A numbr of the things you say are also at odds with the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The bottom line is this: the people of Cork do not want this poisonous, deadly thing in the middle of their harbour. You will, definately, injure the health of many people and others will die if you proceed to build it. The process by which this foul thing is being foisted on us has not taken account of the serious health implications for the people of Cork Harbour and further afield. The implications for farming and for food are being overlooked. When large food corporations in the US and Canada threaten to end the purchase of food in area in which an incinerator is proposed, do you suppose they dont know what they are talking about? The County Council's own decision to reject the plan was undemocratically and bizarrely overturned by people who knew nothing about the sicence of the decision they were making. We dont want you! This thing is being railroaded through against the express wishes of the people of the area. We are not fools and know well what the alternatives are.

Indaver is there to make a profit - it serves its own interests, not ours. It is not a charitable concern - let nobody forget that.

author by John Ahernpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 12:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If what you say is correct why have the World Health Organisation, The EU Commission, Governments and EPAs all over Europe and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland all said that incineration is safe.

Are they all wrong?

I didn't know it was a bad thing to make a profit . If companies don't make profits they cannot pay taxes or wages. Who is going to fund national services etc?

Miriam debate on this issue is good but lets keep it on a factual level. Incineration is part of the soultion to waste management. It is safe (see above) and it recovers energy from waste that would otherwise be discarded.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors


First off, you'd do better not to patronise your opponents. I know all about jobs, taxes and the funding of national services. In order to be able to do those things you need a healthy population with a reasonable life expectancy -not one that is sickening and dying from dioxin pollution. For your information, I have extensive experience in the commercial sector - sales and marketing - and am not at all unfamiliar with the cut and thrust of the sales environment. So you see, John, it won't do for you to attempt to caricature me or any of your opponents on this issue in they way you are trying to do here.

We all know your sales patter and are impervious to it at this stage. It obviously served you well to get you to where you are but you need to understand that, unlike you, the rest of us dont think like the polluting industrial paymasters on whose behalf you are obliged to ride into battle. I assume they pay you very well for it. All of the facts are there - plain and clear for all to see - read the article again John.

author by Christian McCarthypublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 14:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Re the Ringaskiddy Incinerator, we have heard the proof from the experts. I believe Oral Hearing evidence from medical professionals such as Dr Gavin ten Tusscher who works with babies and children who have encountered medical problems as a result of living close to incinerators which do not even EXCEED emission levels.
Indaver's PR spin will never pursuade me to compromise the health of my family and that of the members of our community so that that company can make a handsome profit.

author by Ciaran Fitzgeraldpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 14:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Why John, are so many well informed people so committed in their opposition to Incineration ?
These people have genuine concerns for the Health of their Families and the Health of the greater community.
Unlike you John,these people are not on the payroll of the company attempting to construct this incinerator.
But what about the extra tax revenue generated by the incinerator?..... we'll need it to deal with additional burden on the health sector as a result of the toxins spewing from its stack.

author by Sean O'Keefepublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 15:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In light of recent spillages from Pharma-chem plants in Cork Harbour, how can anyone advocate the construction of an incinerator in the same area? Enough is enough !

author by miriam cottonpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 19:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Miriam , I found John Ahene's comment's and reassurances about the safety of incineration ring very hollow when you consider Indavers' track record in Belgium .They have had major problems there. They have had to shut down one of their plants which was 1800 times over their pernitted levels in 2002. From the EPA oral hearing we heard that none of Indaver's irish staff have any experience of managing incineration plants . If you add this to the gross ineptitude demonstrated by the EPA during the summer when handling the caustic soda spillages into Cork Harbour ,it is little wonder that local communties feel totally let down by the Government and its' agents.
John Aherne's patronising tone reflects a basic inability to address the serious worries of local communities in an honest and open manner. Concerned resident ,Cork

author by Olivia O'Sullivanpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 20:10author email oliviaosullivan at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I note with interest John Ahern's comments re incineration .Of course he thinks that it is safe and desireable he works for Inadaver!

Any rational analysis can only lead to the conclusion that this is the "wrong site" . In addition to the health risks, it has unsatisfactory access for evacuation in an emergency. The site is also prone to flooding, as seen last winter, which could lead to marine contamination.

It conflicts with the Cork Area Strategic Plan and the County Development Plan which we the community and the Local Authority in this county have signed up to , CASP puts great emphasis on developing Cork Harbour as an attractive place to live, work and visit.

This incinerator is not required to serve a National Interest, existing industry in the harbour is disposing of its waste by legitimate means.

There is no Waste Management plan in County Cork advocating incineration of any kind. The National Strategy does not select County Cork, Cork Harbour or Ringaskiddy as a preferred site .

So what National Policy is John Ahern of Indaver referring to?

This is a purely commercial venture to boost the profits of the Indaver Group at the expense of the local population.

Olivia O'Sullivan

author by Bev Cottonpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 20:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wherever you put one, it will contaminate and poison everything around it whether it's land, cattle, people, lakes or marine environments. Incinerators should be banned completely just like DDT and other deadly pollution sources. The evidence shows that dioxin producing incinerators are going to kill us wherever they are sited. However, given that the current debate is about putting two in Cork Harbour, that must be of immediate concern to the hundreds of thousands of people who are going to live on top of them.

author by Bill Aherne - concerned and truth telling citizen of Corkpublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 23:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is a pity that seeing John Ahern is so fond of quoting the W.H.O. ( World Health Organisation) that he and his company were not aware of the W.H.O. Guidelines for Site Selection of Toxic Waste Incinerators ( EPA and An Bord Pleanala Oral Hearings 2005 and 2003 respectively )
You can't cherry pick John when it suits you. If you respect the W.H.O. so much why did you ignore their guide lines when it came to choosing a site? Was it because this site in Ringaskiddy was the only one you could buy having been turned down at all the other sites? Is it not the case that you have been trying to shoe-horn in this incinerator to this site like some sad ugly sister from the Cinderella fairy tales.
Quite honestly John, the shoe does not fit, it never will !!

author by Mary Crawford , Ennis Co. Clarepublication date Sun Sep 04, 2005 23:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Having followed the EPA Oral Hearing on the Toxic waste incinerator proposed for Ringaskiddy, it was very interesting to see , that Indaver Ireland were so worried about the safety and health of the people in the Greater Harbour area that they employed several legal experts during the entire process, but no medical experts.
I think that speaks for itself.!

author by Rosie Carginpublication date Mon Sep 05, 2005 02:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you are wondering whether to buy a set of encyclopaedias, you don’t ask the encyclopaedia salesman for his opinion. Similarly no one in Cork expects Indaver’s John Ahern to give an objective opinion on this subject. How can anyone say that this incinerator will be safe and not emit dioxin onto Irish farms, when the Indaver incinerator in Antwerp malfunctioned and emitted dioxins at levels hundreds of times over the legally permitted levels? (There is no safe level of this highly toxic carcinogen)

We do not want Indaver here because it has a vested interest in Ireland producing maximum waste streams for incineration and in the importation of waste. It is in our interest and that of future generations to minimise all waste streams through the long overdue adoption of zero waste policies. We need to be focussing on preventing waste at source rather than burning or burying our mistakes. This involves concerted and long overdue action at local, national and international levels to ensure that financial and taxation incentives are given at point of production and point of sale to industry to produce wherever possible goods that can be recycled, re-used or composted. At present the consumer is lumbered with too many of the headaches at point of disposal. We should be focussing more on clean production technologies, toxic use reduction and ecologically sound alternatives to incineration for toxic and other wastes. These alternatives were described at the EPA oral hearing in Cork earlier this year and information on them is available on the CHASE website.
For unavoidable waste, landfill is preferable to incineration, because incineration vastly increases the surface area of the waste, distributes harmful airborne particulates over a wide area, produces dioxins and furans (which may not be destroyed by the burn process or contained by the filters), as well as large amounts of greenhouse gases adding to climate change. It also creates a requirement for hazardous landfill facilities for all the ash.
Backyard burning, especially of chlorinated materials such as plastics, must also be vigorously opposed because open burning produces significantly more dioxin and other toxins per kilo of waste burned than would a commercially run incinerator. This fact in no way justifies the building of mass burn commercial incinerators for the above reasons.

Incidentally September 7th marks GAIA’s Global day of action against incineration and for the promotion of ecologically sound alternatives. Hundreds of communities around the world will be participating. For more information see the no burn web link.

Related Link: http://www.no-burn.org
author by M Cottonpublication date Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A messaged posted above by 'a concerned resident' says it was authored by me. This was an error made in completing the comment form, I assume.

author by James Bowenpublication date Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:01author address Kinsale, Co. Corkauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Incineration poisons the atmosphere we breathe and, consequently, the food we eat.

Indaver's proposal would poison us not just with the results of burning our own waste but with the results of burning toxic waste that his company will import into this country from overseas.

author by mamie bowen - Monkstown, Glenbrook. Passage,C hasepublication date Mon Sep 05, 2005 14:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear John,

Your claim that incinerators are no threat to health are extremely misleading and noticeably lack any medical backup or research.
Exposure limits acceptable now will not be acceptable in 10 years time just compare the knowledge of the past when DDTand aspestos was acceptable. When cigarettes were not thought to be a danger.
Our national policy on waste is, incineration and landfill - a last resort. I too am all for profit, but a tolling monopoly waste industry, that is something else.

Let us grow up together.

Related Link: http://www.chaseireland.org
author by mary o brienpublication date Mon Sep 05, 2005 16:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

apologies Miriam , I was the author of the above piece,I entered your name in error.
As I am on line I would also like to make the following comments.
If the Indaver company are so concerned about convincing the residents of Cork that incincineration is safe ,why then did they not present their own medical experts at the EPA oral hearing where the veracity of their evidence and expertise could be challenged .
Indaver did not challenge the medical evidence presented on behalf of CHASE when they had opportunity to do so .I think it is reasonable then to assume Indaver can't get medical experts to say that incineration is safe ,otherwise they would have lined then up with the rest of the Indaver experts who gave evidence to the hearing. Mary O Brien.

author by Maggie Boydpublication date Tue Sep 06, 2005 02:56author email boydmaggie at hotmail dot comauthor address Monkstown, Co. Corkauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Summary of health issues (pdf)

Summary of main concerns and issues (pdf)

EPA Oral Hearing - Closing statement on behalf of CHASE (pdf)

author by M Cottonpublication date Tue Sep 06, 2005 13:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Im cross linking this thread to the one titled 'The truth behind the gaoling of the Rossport 5' - identical issues. For anyone who hasnt read about it there is a very good discussion on this thread:


author by Maggie Boydpublication date Wed Sep 07, 2005 20:30author email boydmaggie at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Dioxin is like throwing a hand grenade into our biological mechanisms."
Dr. Paul Connett, Professor of Chemistry, St. Lawrence U. NY State

"Releases from incinerators cause a slow, but gradual accumulation of pollutants in the food chain and the human body … health effects may often only become visible and measurable after a long latency period."
L. Hens, Human Ecology Dept, Free University Brussels

"It is generally accepted that emission standards are based on what can be measured and what is achievable, rather than on what is safe."
Dept. of Environment (UK) Committee

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Wed Oct 05, 2005 21:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The following is a press release issued today by CHASE about the national significance of the governments plans for the use of Cork Harbour as a place in which to burn toxic waste. It is more evidence, if any were needed, of the governments determination to poison the environment of Cork Harbour and to endanger the health and lives of its population:

Cork Harbour Alliance for A Safe Environment


CHASE has learned that the Draft Waste Management Plan for Counties Limerick, Clare and Kerry includes an expectation to be able to burn waste in neighbouring regions. This, CHASE believes is not a very subtle code for burning waste in Cork Harbour .

The Waste Management Plan (ref www.managewaste.ie/doc/WMPNov2005/ Draft %20Waste%20Plan_Full.pdf.url) recommends “thermal treatment “ is a better form of treatment than landfill; that the region therefore needs a thermal treatment plant; which will not be in place within the five year term of the Plan; and therefore “account shall be taken of thermal treatment developments in neighbouring regions” (section 15.6) .The Plan further argues that the “Proximity Principle i.e. building the facility nearest to where the waste is produced, is being interpreted too severely stating ”there should be flexibility with respect to the movement of waste across regional boundaries”(15.11)

This proposal is of serious concern to the people of Cork who are already having incineration thrust upon them, despite the democratic decision made by the people of Cork to reject incineration as a way of dealing with our waste and the known serious health effects of incineration even in plants working within EU limits.

The last time Cork was burning we could blame the Black and Tans. This time it is a bit more refined and is courtesy of our Belgian friends and their local helpers.

For further information:

Mary Hurley, CHASE PRO, 021 4813070 086 8162448

Mary O’Leary, CHASE Chairperson, 021 4811952 086 8177737

author by M Cottonpublication date Mon Oct 17, 2005 21:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors


CHASE has learned that the EPA have yet again postponed the decision to grant or refuse a waste licience to Indaver Ireland in respect of the toxic waste incinerator at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.

The Board has before it a vast amount of medical information which highlights the serious medical risks associated with incineration. The dangers were documented by international medical expert Dr Gavin Ten Tussher, they include birth defects, hormone disruption, retardation of brain and sexual development, liver damage, immunity interference and behavioural problems. These health effects can be seen even at permitted licience levels.

Dr Anthony Staines Epidemiologist and author of “Health and Environmental Effects of Land filling and Incineration of Waste” told the hearing ‘ a proper Health Impact Assessment is necessary, to ensure reasonable consideration of human health issues.’ This was not presented by Indaver .He also said Ireland has insufficient resources to carry out adequate risk assessments for proposed waste management facilities.

In addition the site was found to be unsuitable by World Health Organisation exclusion criteria on site selection for incinerators. CHASE believes no amount of conditions attached to the licience can make the site safe or suitable or acceptable to the Communities of the Harbour .


For further information:

Mary Hurley, CHASE PRO, 021 4813070 086 8162448

Mary O’Leary, CHASE Chairperson, 021 4811952 086 8177737

author by M Cottonpublication date Fri Oct 21, 2005 13:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Residents fo Cork Harbour were astounded to read this week of the increases in dioxin levels in the area - especially in the light of the reductions that have been recorded in other parts of the country. CHAS have issued another press release about this (below).

"CHASE Furious At EPA Willingness To Gamble The Health Of The People Of Cork

Research by the Environmental Protection Agency has found that while dioxin levels are decreasing nationally, dioxon levels have doubled in the Ringaskiddy area in the last four years.

"CHASE is furious with the EPA’S cavalier attitude toward the health of the people of Cork. This report has been with the EPA since 2004. Yet, knowing this, the EPA granted a draft waste licience to Indaver Ireland for two mass burn incinerator . We know from evidence admitted by Indaver’s own expert at the EPA Oral Hearing that these two incinerators will burn waste 24/7 and will increase the dioxin levels in the Cork area." said a CHASE spokesperson.

CHASE insist on a moratorium on proposals by the Irish Government to introduce mass incineration as a form of waste management until proper baseline health studies have been carried out on populations at risk. Dioxins are released into the atmosphere unintentionally as a result of incomplete combustion processes; known sources of dioxin include incinerators and steel production.

There are already seven incinerators operating in the Harbour under licience. While Irish Ispat is now closed, we will never know the impact the plant had on the health of the community.

The people of Cork cannot be expected to tolerate any further increase in dioxin levels and it is not acceptable that the EPA issue liciences to industries that will add to the dioxin burden.

--- ENDS ----

For further information:

Mary Hurley, CHASE PRO, 021 4813070 086 8162448
Mary O’Leary, CHASE Chairperson, 021 4811952 086 8177737"

author by M Cottonpublication date Mon Oct 24, 2005 13:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Two good letters in today's Irish Examiner challenge the EPA. One tackles the issue of their approach to the applicaiton process for approval of the incinerator in Cork Harbour. The second discusses the EPA's response to the issue of increased dioxin levels in Cork Harbour.

1. Letter from:
Derry Chambers,
Cork Environmental Allicance,
Gort an Eadan,
Cill na Martra,
Co Chorcai

[NB This is a different body from CHASE]

"EPA accused of 'guerilla tactics' on incinerator"

There are many who will view the recent announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay until Christmas a decision on the national hazardous waste incinerator as a cynical exercise in media manipulation.

After all, who will pay much attention to such an announcement during the Christmas holidays?

The EPA has a long established modus operandi of issuing controversial pollution permits during periods of least media attention. Environmentalists can testify to the number of Christmas and sumer holidays that have been interrupted by these 'guerilla tactics' from the agency since its inception in 1993.

However, Cork Environmental Alliance would prefer to take the view tha this further postponement of a decision in this cse is indicative of the agency's determnation to give the matter due and fair consideration.

To this end it is a pity that the agency's board members failed to attend a single session of the oral hearing of appeals against the proposed pollution licence which ran for almost three weeks last February in Cork. Had the directors bothered to attend that hearing, it is likely they would have a clearer understanding of the questions now causing disruptive and unwelcome delays in the pollution licensing system.

Unfortunately, the EPA has the unique legislative distinction of being judge and jury in matters relating to environmental pollution in this country. Thus the agency directors argue that as they themselves had issued the proposed pollution licence for the incinerator, it would not be appropriate for them to attend their own hearing of appeals against their own permit - an appeal on which they have now been deliberating for almost a year.

Furthermore, the EPA appears to be a comfortable accomplice in the cat-and-mouse game being played between the State and unwilling communities all over Ireland. For the purposes of waste management the country has been divided into regions with each devising and adopting a waste plan. As there is not enough waste generted nationally to justify an incinerator in each region, it is the case that whichever community blinks first and allows incinceration will get all the waste from around the country.

As an example the Kerry, Limerick and Clare region does not have an incinerator and their waste management plan makes it clear that waste from those counties is almost certain to be diverted to Ringaskiddy for disposal.

However there is one bit of good news for the people of Cork Harbour. This further delay in reaching a decision on the Ringaskiddy development means that, whatever the outcome, it is likely to occur in the run-up to a general election. With Cork South Central reduced from a five to a four-seat constituency there will be ample opportunity for the voters of Cork harbour to give the pro-incineration parties of Fianna Fail and the PDs a sharp lesson in representative democracy."

2. From:
Linda Fitzpatrick
'Rest Havens'
Co Cork

"People aren't cows, so the milk dioxin test fails to impress residents"

The most recent report by the EPA which showed a doubling of dioxin levels in the Ringaskiddy samples is hardly good news, but more disturbing is the attempt by the EPA and other parties to downplay its significance because levels in other areas of Cork harbour have fallen, and because it isn't as high as Europe allows it to be.

The EPA report said the sample was taken from a tanker, and that cows were used because they 'tend to graze over relatively large aras," so it wasn't as if it was taken from a single cow grazing on 10 square feet of grass. It was a valid representation of the area it was taken in . People in and near Ringaskiddy aren't one bit impressed, and these people aren't quite as lucky as cows.

Cows' milk is ideal for assessing dioxin and dioxin-like pollutant levels because these compounds adhere to fat and, in the case of cows, are transferred to and eliminated in the milk of the lactating animal.

A bit like women really, except that women only elminiate their milk when they are breastfeeding, and then the newborn baby gets the build-up of dioxin since milk was last eliminated.

Men don't get to eliminate milk at all and neither do children, so dioxin and dioxin-like pollutants just accumulate in their bodies. It's just laughable that the EPA can't figure out why Ringaskiddy stands out as the only region showing a significant increase. It wouldn't be anything to do with the fact that Ringaskiddy is home to Ireland's largest industrial estate, with its own bevy of incinerators alerady. I hope they can figure out that bulding Indaver's incinerator will add to current dioxin levels. And I hope they can figure out why people like me know they aren't protecting our health."

author by Mary O Leary - CHASEpublication date Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Environment Minister Micheal Martin's lack of concern at the doubling of dioxin levels in Ringaskiddy is shocking. It is good news that dioxin levels nationally have dropped by 20% but the reality is that in Ringaskiddy they have almost doubled in the last four years. Dioxins are known carcinogens. They are unintentional byproducts of incineration and, according to the Environment Protection Agency in the US, there are no safe levels of dioxins.

No doubt the study to determine dioxin levels in Ireland was carried out in a scientific manner. All samples were taken using the same techniques, analysed in the same way, in the sme laboratory and results correlated accrodingly - in the same way.

If doubt is going to be cast on the credibility of the Ringaskiddy results, then it has to be cast on the entire report. Mr Martin may be happy to believe the EPA here when they say they have 'no concerns' but he must realise that he is elected to represent the people of Cork and we, the community affected, have grave concerns about these results.

It clearly shows that all is not well in Cork harbour. Despite the closure of Irish Steel and IFI, the two dirtiest industries in the harbour, dioxin levels have doubled. Worryingly, the EPA cannot explain why there is an increase, although they are the competent authority charged with protecting our environment. Surely a more appropriate response from Mr Martin, and indeed the EPA, would have been to concur with the community's concern at these increases and set about trying to determine why they occurred.

Trying to bury this unwelcome result as a 'rogue sample', and dismiss it as not being of concern, clearly shows that the EPA - and indeed it seems the minister - cannot be trusted to protect us.

This entire incident has highlighted one thing. It shows that the wishes and safety of the people of Cork are to be ignored. For years there has been a call for a proper baseline health study to be carried out on the people of cork.

Indeed, the Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) met with Mr Martin while he was minister of health to impress upon him the importance of such a study. But it was to no avail.

Now we have evidence from the EPA themselves that should alarm any public representative, but Mr Martin, sadly, has decided to continue to sit on his fence.

author by Ailis Ni Bhroinpublication date Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:55author address Model Farm Road, Corkauthor phone Report this post to the editors

There have been several references to 'EU safe levels' of dioxins in the media recently. I wish to give you a different viewpoint regarding these 'safe levels'.

To put it simply, dioxins are part of a group of chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants, or POPs. This means they say very stable in the environment and don't break down easily into safer substances. Because of this, they 'bio-accumulate' - the higher up the food chain, the bigger dioxin load a creature will get, mostly through what it eats. To use humans as an example, every time you eat a steak you are getting a portion of the dioxins that the cow has accumulated in its lifetime. If you much your way through one whole cow's worth of steaks in your lifetime, all those dioxins have accumulated in your body, along with any from dairy products you have consumed, plus all the other animal and plant traces of POPs that you have received. Because these chemicals are fat-soluble, we can't easily flush them out of our systems. These substances don't go away. That is why so many countries signed up to the Stockholm convention to stop all production of POPs. That is also why the EPA in the US - the EPA with probably the most experience of dealing with dioxins - insists there is no safe level of dioxins.

This is the message we need to deliver to the Government and to the companies that try to run roughshod over the will of the local population. We do not accept any level of these toxic chemicals. Even one child exposed to risk is unaceptable. Any plans to build profit on the back of such risks is unacceptable. The people of Cork, and all the people of Ireland, must pull together to protect our precious future from complacency, political corruption and greed.

author by M Cottonpublication date Thu Nov 17, 2005 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The CHASE monster raffle will be held at the Bodega in Cornmarket Street in Cork tonight. There will also be more information about the recent EPA dioxin level findings and a discussion of the fire at an incinerator in Czechoslovakia which has created a serious health hazard for residents in the area and who have been forced to say indoors for two days.

Link to further information:


For some light relief, here is the Rhyme for the Time published in the Irish Examiner on 25th October:

"The EPA - they’re OK,
Far from the dioxins of Ringaskiddy Bay."

(By Susan d’Esterre Roberts
Passage West
Co Cork )

author by John Ahern - Indaver Irelandpublication date Sat Nov 19, 2005 18:46author email jahern at indaver dot ieauthor address 4, Haddington Terrace Dun Laoghaireauthor phone 01 280 4534Report this post to the editors

For those worried about dioxin levels in Ringaskiddy the attached contribution from the EPA may be of interest.

John Ahern
Indaver Ireland

Related Link: http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2005/11/11/story112905946.asp
author by mamie - chasepublication date Sat Nov 19, 2005 20:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello John,
You refer to Larry Stapleton, Director EPA, commenting on concerns of the public expressed by Ms. Hurley with regard to the doubling of dioxin levels in Cork Harbour. The following may explain these concerns.
The doubling of these dioxin levels must be seen as worrying in view of any future emissions from a mass toxic incinerator being proposed as government policy , and a municipal incinerator being proposed on the same site, (planning permissions for which has not yet been sought, although the EPA already granted a provisional licence.)
The EU levels and limits are based on health implications of a fully grown adult not on the the most vulnerable- the developing foetus and the nursing child . These last two categories depend on the voice of informed responsible people who are attempting to assess the health risks to themselves and to this silent body. We are well aware that the Irish dioxin levels are low when compared to Europe, but we do not have mass incineration yet.
Not one of the five directors of the EPA, being judge and jury of the oral hearing findings of Dr. Derham into the licence can be prosecuted if they get it wrong , they being directors, and as such are exempt.
The parents of the future generations, and the public, aware that the company being invited in to run this industry ( a monopoly tolling waste industry) exceeded their EU limit l,800 times over a period of three months in their home country in Belgium, have to be concerned as their remit is to the safety of their children, and obviously find the risks unacceptable. There is a big difference in the consequences of these assessments for the EPA and for the public.
I trust these facts will help put some perspective on these concerns of Cork people especially those living all round the harbour.

author by M Cottonpublication date Sun Nov 20, 2005 08:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As John Ahern well knows, there are NO safe levels of dioxins.

There is no 'reassurance' that he or anyone else can ever truthfully offer on that point. John, of course is paid well to try to tell us otherwise so we know where he is coming from, don't we?

The EU 'safe limit' to which he refers is a fiction created for and by those who want to make profit out of seriously polluting the environment, regardless of its effect on the local community. Mr Ahern is very much in the habit of chosing his evidence selectively but he should realise that this strategy works far less well in an open forum like this than it does in applications procedures which are heavily biased in his company's favour.

The EPA's conduct of the application process for the incinerators has been nothing short of a disgrace, in the opinion of many people. We hear now that they have, allegedly, appointed a PR company to help improve their self-tarnished image. They should save us this further abuse of public funds. No amount of 'spin' will fool the people of Cork Harbour - or those further afield - who are sick and tired of the EPA's dismissive and evasive attitude. Their brazeness about defending and excusing inadequate processes and the serious failures of communication with the public can never be justified. Their policies are clearly aimed at minimising any obligation to the public and to making life easy and carefree for the industries they are supposed to be monitoring. The last thing we want to see now is some over-paid PR rep grinning inanely at us and offering blandishments about how safe it all is, really.

But take this argument to the people who are really responsible: the government civil servants and politicians who are endorsing and encouraging the policy of incineration every step of the way. Their arrogance and indifference needs to be exposed. Let's have no more of the local FF or FG representatives turning up in the hope of milking the situation for a few votes, and making supportive noises which somehow always manage to fall well short of the outright condemnation of incineration that is needed. Let nobody exploit this situation for personal advantage of any kind.

Incineration is a lazy and dull-witted solution to solving our waste management problems. It will, if it is allowd to proceed, manufacture monumental environmental and health problems for present and future generations. It will be nothing short of a deliberate crime committed on us all. The people of Dublin are also waking up to this issue in the light of similar proposals there. We should support each other against the policy of incineration. There are alternatives but it requires effort and leadership to face up to what those alternatives are. Unfortunately, these qualities are in particularly short supply where the present government is concerned.

Indaver would like to divert us all from what is currently happening in Czechoslovakia, so lets not be sucked into another of John Ahern's spurious 'debates' about dioxin levels. If anyone has further information about what is happening in Czechoslovakia, hopefully they will post it here so that everyone can have an opportunity to understand the harsh realites of incinerating waste for profit.

author by Maggie Boydpublication date Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:20author email boydmaggie at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The EPA are of the opinion that once certain standards are applied and capable of being met then there will be no adverse impact on our health from the hazardous and municipal waste incinerators planned for Ringaskiddy.

But consider the following about emission limits and standards:

--- Emission limit values are a compromise between economic benefit and the cost to public health. In fact, the US EPA recognises explicitly that for ever pound of a given pollutant emitted to atmosphere, there will be a certain quantifiable cost in terms of human death or illness.
--- Emission limits are based on what can be measured and what is reasonably attainable using available technology, and not on what is safe.
--- Adverse health effects are seen at levels below standard limits.

As standards are an exercise in damage limitation, they must be treated as a beginning and not an end when assessing potential health risks. This is where WHO site selection guidelines become vitally important.

A whole book could be written on why the Ringaskiddy site is unsuitable for an incineration plant of the type proposed. But for a summary, see http://www.chaseireland.org/Documents/Why%20be%20concerned.pdf

See also: Summary of health issues (pdf)

author by Frank O' Dpublication date Mon Nov 21, 2005 19:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to Maggie Boyd for the last letter. The two references she gives are particularly worthwhile - recommend everybody reads them. It's shocking to think that incinerators have ever been considered for a site like this one. The role of the HSA is particularly worrying - to give approval like it did on what was clearly very flimsy evidence - this is a major worry for everyone.

author by Mary Hurley - PRO, CHASEpublication date Tue Nov 22, 2005 10:48author address author phone 086 8162448Report this post to the editors

I wish to respond to some of the comments made by Mr Stapleton (Director, Office of Environmental Assessment, EPA) in his letter Friday 11 November (referred to by John Ahern above) . He says that in my letter (Irish Examiner, October 31) I ignore the fact that dioxin levels in Ireland are low compared with the EU limit . This may be true, but this shouldn't give us any false comfort and had Mr Stapleton taken the trouble to actually attend the Oral Hearing in Cork when he was asked to, he may have learned some new facts about these EU limits and be less inclined to rely on them and quote them so unquestioningly.

For example he would have heard expert medical evidence from Dr Gavin Ten Tusscher, Pediatrician, Scientist and Member of EU Technical Group on Bio Monitoring of Children, when he stated that harm is occurring to children even under permitted licence conditions. This is because the officially declared tolerable levels are measured in relation to adults and not children, even though children are more vulnerable and adversely affected by exposure to dioxin. The EPA's apparent refusal to date to consider such evidence is deeply worrying particularly in the light of the advice given by Dr Ten Tusscher: that it would be wise to assess the extent of the harm these pollutants would cause to people's health before deciding to grant a licence .

When Mr Stapleton refers "to putting some facts about the report into some perspective", this again gives very cold comfort when you realise ,as I do, having attended the Oral Hearing that the Indaver Incineration Company produced no Health Impact Assessment when making their application. In addition, the evidence presented by Dr Anthony Staines senior lecturer in Epidemiology, Dept.of Public Health UCD and co author of the Government funded Health Research Bureau Report, told the Hearing of the inability of the EPA and the Dept. of Health to monitor such facilities.

The public at large would have more confidence in the Government Agencies including the EPA if they proved themselves more open and willing to take into account all available evidence and not simply manipulate information to portray themselves in the best possible light. The public interest would be better served if taxpayers money was spent on a baseline health study of Cork Harbour rather than on PR companies.

author by Mairepublication date Thu Nov 24, 2005 17:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Incineration, (thermal treatment)
-A sustainable way of spending the children's environment wealth and health.

author by Updaterpublication date Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Environmental Protection Agency has granted licences for the operation of two controversial waste incinerators in Co Meath and Co Cork.
The agency said today that it was satisfied the two facilities in Duleek and Ringaskiddy would not pose any danger to human health or the environment.

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Sat Aug 19, 2006 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Incinerators in Cork and Meath have been approved on the grounds that they do not propose a threat to human health.

Below is the text of a letter from the Chairperson of CHASE to Minister Harney setting out exactly what the threat to health is from incineration. A judicial review of the of the original provisional approval in relation to the Ringaskiddy incinerators has not yet been conducted but in view of the prior final approval of the incinerator by the EPA and the thrust of the Strategic Infrastructure Bill, the review is highly unlikely to rule that the original approval was unreasonable. Somewhere in the bowels of the FF party machine there has to be a committee dedicated to the buisnes of thinking up ways to anger and alienate as many people as possible. Anyone living in the Dublin area should find the information below useful - and worrying. Support your local anti incinerator campaigns and join forces with others:

"19 June 2006

Dear Minister Harney

As you are aware, CHASE has been actively involved in the incineration debate over the last number of years. Having engaged in both the planning process and the waste licence application, many of the concerns of the community still remain unanswered. One of the most important issues that concern the community remains that of health and public safety.

In relation to the two proposed incinerators in Ringaskiddy, CHASE has presented all of the medical evidence at both oral hearings, and would now like to draw your attention to this evidence.

Incinerators produce the following:

**stack gases, minute dust particles, and ash.
All these contain pollutants that are harmful to our health. That is why they are regulated. Emissions from incinerators include: particulate matter, dioxins, PCBs and heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium etc.). All of these are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic.

In 2003, the Health Research Board (HRB) published a government commissioned report which concluded that:
- Ireland has insufficient resources to carry out adequate risk assessments for proposed waste management facilities.
- Irish healthinformation systems cannot support routine monitoring of the health of people living near waste sites.
- There is a serious deficiency of baseline environmental information in Ireland.

In addition Dr Anthony Staines, one of the authors of the HRB report, reiterated these findings at the EPA Oral Hearing and concluded that:

“The proposed development requires a proper Health Impact Assessment to ensure reasonable consideration of human health issues. The material provided in Indaver’s EIS falls short of any reasonable estimate of what is required.”

Incinerator emissions include fine particles or particulate mater (PM). The tiniest of these (PM2.5) cannot be trapped by filters in the incinerator stacks and are the most dangerous because they penetrate more deeply into the lungs. Because of their tiny size they also travel farther and persist longer in the atmosphere than larger particles (PM10). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO): “PM2.5 seriously affects health, increasing deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and lung cancer.” And a recent report on the health effects of incinerators concluded that:

“Incinertors are in reality particulate generators, and their use cannot be justified now that it is clear how toxic and carcinogenic fine particulates are.”

The most recent report carried out by the prestigious British Society of Ecological Medicine states the following:

- Large studies have shown higher rates of adult and childhood cancer and also birth defcts around municipal waste incinerators.
- Incinerator emissions are a major source of fine particulates, of toxic metals and of more than 200 organic chemicals, including known carcinogens, mutagens, and hormone disrupters.
- Present safety measures are designed to avoid acute toxic effects in the immediate neighbourhood, but ignore the fact that many of the pollutants bioaccumulate, can enter the food chain and can cause chronic illnesses over time and over a much wider geographical area.
- Incinerators produce bottom and fly ash which represent 3—50% by volume of the original waste (if compacted). Abatement equipment in modern incinerators merely transfers the toxic load, notably that of dioxins and heavy metals, from airborne emissions to the fly ash. This fly ash is light, readily windborne and mostly of low particle size. It represents a considerable and poorly understood health hazard.
- It has been claimed that modern abatement procedures render the emissions from incinerators safe, but this impossible to establish. Moreover, two of the most hazardous emissions – fine particulates and heavy metals are relatively resistant to removal.
- There are now alternative methods of dealing with waste which would avoid the main health hazards of incineration and would be far cheaper in real terms, if the health costs were taken into account.
- Incincerators presently contravene basic human rights as stated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in particular the Right to Life under European Human Rights Convention, but also the Stockholm Convention and the Environmental Protection Act of 1990. The Foetus, infant and child are most at risk from incinerator emissions; their rights are therefore being ignored and violated, which is not in keeping with the concept of a just society.
- The literature reviewed leads us to the opinion that new facilities emitting substantial quantities of fine particulates, volatile heavy metals and hazardous organic pollutants should not b approved and that urgent measures should be taken to reduce the emissions from waste burning installations in current use and to apply rigorous biological monitoring until they can be taken out of service and safer methods of waste disposal brought into operation.

Finally, in the Askeaton Investigation and the failure of Irish health information systems report, the authors concluded that:
“The investigation highlighted the almost total failure of Irish health information systems to respond to any form of in-depth analysis of population health status.” They make several recommendations in relation to how the above could be addressed but premise it by stating these recommendations are made on the presumption that adequate resources would be made available.

The above information clearly indicates:
a. The dangers and health problems associated with mass incineration
b. The inability of our health system to monitor, access or evaluate the implications of major infrastructure facilities which could pose a threat to the public.

This information sets out very clearly the health problems and risks associated with mass incineration as a means of waste management. With such information available to the Government it is imperative that mass incineration is removed from the National Waste Management Strategy. Public health and safety cannot be gambled with. With an increase in public awareness of the problems associated with incineration and the fact that there are many alternatives available, there will never be public acceptance of this outdated and potentially dangerous technology.

I trust you will give careful consideration to the above and look forward to your comments.

Yours sincerely

Mary O’ Leary, Chairperson
Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE)"

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Wed Aug 23, 2006 11:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From the GAIA (Global Anti Incineration Alliance) website:

"Polluting, unreliable and expensive

New incinerator schemes include gasification, plasma and pyrolysis technologies. In these systems, wastes are fed into an indirectly-heated high-temperature chamber. The extreme heat causes a proportion of the waste to turn into gas, which is then incinerated.

The two-step process, involving temperatures sometimes higher than 1300 degrees Celsius, is highly energy-intensive.

In the US, vendors of these systems have claimed that their technologies produce fewer emissions than traditional incinerators. Yet a recent emissions test of an International Environmental Solutions municipal waste pyrolysis plant in Romoland, California found that the facility produced more particulates, volatile organic compounds and dioxins than either of the two aging nearby municipal waste incinerators, built in the 1980s."

The GAIA website is an excellent source of information about incineration and the opposition to it around the world.

Incineration had been on the decrease in the USA but it seems incinerator vendors there are now targetting small rural communities in which to locate their burners:


author by Dowtchapublication date Wed Aug 23, 2006 11:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But Cork has the largest concenmtration of chemical and other toxic industries in the country. Its only right and just that the Corkonians look after their own toxic waste. They should not be allowed to export it. Dublin doesnt want corks waste.

author by T O Donovanpublication date Wed Aug 23, 2006 13:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The zero waste movement is beginning to impact on waste policy. This is an idea that goes beyond recycling as we do it now. Waste is seen as a commodity. Producers are expected adapt their production to environmentally friendly techniques and to take responsibility for all waste from their products that cant be reused. Website here with information:


author by Simhurrll - N/Apublication date Wed May 23, 2007 01:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

See the articles in Indymedia Dublin.

author by simulcripublication date Wed May 23, 2007 15:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As a point of information for those whose comprehension is informed by cliches:

The only waste that is relevant to the siting of a toxic or hazardous waste incinerator is the waste that would go to feed it. This waste is easily pinpointed. It is the waste that is currently being exported for disposal by incineration abroad.

Because such waste is accompanied by documentation its source is readily ascertainable under the FoI. In fact, this exercise has been done. Approximately 60% of the relevant waste exported from the entire Republic of Ireland originates in Dublin and the counties immediately adjacent to Dublin. Cork is the origin of less than 15% of the relevant waste.

Even adding the waste that is incinerated on-site in all the Cork-based pharmachem industries to that 15% only brings the entire Cork-generated waste up to 28% of the Irish total.

In any event, it has been made clear by the Cork based pharmaceutical industry, that having already invested in dedicated EU-Reg-compliant incinerators which are an integral part of the plants in question, they have no interest whatsoever in paying-out again to Indavar to incinerate this waste.

Ergo: 60% of the feedstock for the (now becalmed) Indavar incinerator in Ringaskiddy would have to be on-loaded in Dublin, brought by road through the towns and villages of Ireland, and then off-loaded in Cork. Neither environmentally or economically logical (or likely).

Now that Dowcha knows the facts, and presuming his logic is consistent, he will be pressing for a Dublin site for a National Toxic Incinerator.

Myself, I would favour disposal by recovery and incineration of the resideue abroad in the countries to where most of the profits made by these companies goes.

author by jamiepublication date Wed May 23, 2007 20:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

then its all a stunt. haz waste is used as a cover for the real agenda- municipal waste outside of the cork region

author by mairepublication date Wed May 23, 2007 23:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Indaver have not gone for planning for the municipal incinerator, which would be on a flooding site, far away from a rail head. The economics of incineration do not make any sense.

author by janiepublication date Mon May 28, 2007 19:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

no need to change planning or licence to take non-haz waste in a haz waste site....

perhaps that was the idea all along - they wouldnt have got a non- haz site -its not in the waste plan

but a haz site doesnt fall under the local authority waste plan - its automatically national need because its part of the EPAs national haz waste plan. but there is no waste for it...


author by Mary Russell - Chasepublication date Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Our beautiful harbor , who gave the go ahead, that is what I would like to know, when there is so much opposition ,to our health ,Money and greed and to hell with the peoples health, nobody cares , but I do and we do , and please God the money will come in to fight this battle , and fight it we will, where is the politicians who has the courage and the decency to stand up and be counted for our next generations do you not know when you leave this world , you are answerable for the decisions you make here and now .
Stand up and be counted and No No No to this Evil outrage,that will kill so many people


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