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It’s Not Over: As the State says Yes to Incineration, Communities Say No!
cork | environment | news report Friday November 25, 2005 23:30 by Terry - 1 of IMC room101ucg at yahoo dot co dot uk
Brief report, and some photos, on the struggle around incineration in Ringaskiddy, Co.Cork.
The sign on the way into the 'right of way' through the proposed incinerator site (just like the Rossport compound or the East Galway superdump building site!)
As the Environmental “Protection” Agency (EPA) today gave the go ahead to Indaver to build incineration facilities in Ringaskiddy, Co.Cork, and Duleek, Co.Meath, Mary O’Leary, chairperson of Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (aka CHASE) said “It’s not over”. She went on to comment that “It is no surprise that the EPA have granted licenses as the former project manager of both incinerators, in Ringaskiddy and in Duleek, is now a director of the EPA”.
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The proposed site adjoins a Martello tower, the 'right of way' is to it, these were built during the wars with France in the late C18th and early C19th, to guard against liberation.
As a local resident of this area I was astounded to discover that we have a untouched landscape of real beauty in Ringaskiddy! Total rubbish. Ringaskiddy is as toxic a place as Chernobyl and centre of one of the most industrialised parts of Ireland.It is the Irish home home to two massive Pfizer plants, Glaxo Smithcline Beecham, Novartis and Johnson and Johnson. It already has the highest rates of rare cancers in Ireland and more toxic fumes are hardly going to make a diference to the already lethal cocktail that exists. Perhaps this is the best place to have a toxic plant since most of Munster's toxic waste is generated here. A substantial number of local residents are employed in the above plants and paid megabucks soplease forgive me with this slightly cynical posting. I am not employed by any chemical company, I live in Carrigaline two miles away and actively opposed the siting of the then Sandoz (Novartis) plant in the eighties and was physically assaulted by some local who are now shedding crocodile tears and in fearof their life of being poisoned. Sorry, but ye reap what ye sow.
Dunno where you got the "untouched landscape of real beauty" you are refering to; the article is about the proximity of the development to a proposed prison, several workplaces and a highly populated area - all of which can be seen in the photos!!! Moreover there is no such thing as an "untouched landscape" as the author of the article you are commenting on is quite aware, and "real beauty" is a pretty piss poor reason to oppose a development by comparision with the health and safety impacts on people living/working/studying near by it.
Did the EPA knowingly issue a licence for a company who exceeded their EU emissions by 1,800 times for 3 months!!, in 2003 in Belgium. Yes.
Did the EPA knowingly issue a licence for a company who will expose the 3rd level Nautical College, 700 personnel our Navy - 1,000, personnel and the proposed prison on Spike Island to the accumulating emissions from two giant capacity incinerators on top of 5 existing in-house incinerators in that area. Yes.
Did the EPA knowlingly issue a licence while ignoring totally the medical experts brought to the oral hearing and their evidence never contested by Indaver. Yes.
Did the EPA knowlingly issue a licence to a facility which encircles another independent hazardous facility ( regular swarf fires) Not bound by this licence. Yes.
Did the EPA knowingly issue a licence to a company whose Project Manager was switched from Indaver to the EPA , as director ,after the planning oral hearing and before the licencing oral hearing. Yes
Did the EPA knowlingly issue a licence to a company to site themselves on a flooding, eroding coast with thermal inversions. Yes
Though she was eventually refused legal aid apparently, very wrongly and in all probability entirely corruptly in my view, those involved in the Ringaskiddy (Cork) and Duleek (Meath) campaigns may find it interesting and useful to consider the powerful Bunreacht na hEireann "Article 28.A.1" and "Article 29.5.1" legal arguments Ms Ann Marie Kelly (law student) put forward at the address provided below in connection with the Greenstar superdump in Kilconnell (where it is suspected there are plans to add an incinerator later on):
Bunreacht na hEireann information can be found viathe following address:
This discussion needs to be expanded, incineration is a required measure to deal with ever growing rubbish and waste. No-one can argue to me that land-fills are the better option, or exporting them to be incinerated abroad is better, it is our responsibility.
It seems obvious to me that the correct actions are recycling as much as possible, then incinerating everything safe to be incinerated, extracting dangerous fumes in the exhuast process, and using the energy extracted to drive power. It makes perfect sense.
Knee jerk reactions are understandable, however the arguments against must be stronger than fear-mongering, and exaggerating dangers.
James here is a dead ringer for John Ahern, Managing Director of Indaver, the incinerator company who will be laughing all the way to the bank if their proposed incinerators ever become operational . There is no 'knee jerk' reaction to what the EPA, Indaver and their FF/PD supporters are doing - only a proper and well informed concern for what is happening in Cork Harbour.
I suspect 'James' knows full well that there is no such thing as 'extracting the dangerous fumes' - only a filtering process which still allows poisonous emissions that will cause death and ill health. There is of course a need for increased emphasis on recycling but, again, the government is doing shamefully little to facilitate this - preferrring instead to waste billions on worthless projects. The solutions go much further than 'James' would dare to acknowledge, unpopular as they are for so many commercial interests. For example, cleaning up all industrial and manufacturing processes and introducing the principle of consumption based on need rather than want. Our supermarkets are filled with 'food' that is denatured, polluted with additives and perservatives and packaged in plastics and other environmentally destructive materials. Juggernauts cruise the roads delivering this stuff to retail outlets and in the process create enormous air pollution so that we can chose from things like sugar, colouring and flavouring-laden yogurts or fat-drenched, plastic-encased crisps for our children. Produce is flown from all over the planet , doing immense damage to the ozone layer so that we can titillate ourselves with exotic foods in our homes or in exhorbitantly priced restaurants while millions starve needlessly to subsidise our Western way of life. The situation is a crazy frenzy of glutinous comsumption. And everybody's least favourite leaders aka Bush and Blair are busy murdering innocent civilians in Iraq and elsewhere in order to provide the oil which will preserve this situation for the capitalists who benefit from it most of all - and whose craven place -men they are.
We are now proposing to add further to this lunacy here in Ireland by burning the waste generated from unncessary, resource-wasting and toxic products and in the process will scatter the most deadly toxins known over a heavily populated area.
Remember that Ireland does not produce anything like the amount of toxic waste that would make the proposed incincerator commercially viable. We are going to have to import the filth from other countries for that. What will we do with the toxic ash that will be generated?
Why is our government railroading yet another project that it knows is filthy, dangerous and against the wishes of the majority of people. This is not a politically sensible move in the run up to an election. Where is the pressure coming from? Which FF backers are clamouring for this? Is this Ireland's quid pro quo for the EU investment years?
What is really going on here?
Interesting comments jane. Firstly ive never heard of this guy ahern u refer too, they were just my opinions.
I agree with you about the waste, yes there is too much, and obviously it is generated in ever growing amounts to feed the demand of the consumer culture. But that is the current culture, we currently live in a capitalist nation, one of the more so in europe, completely selling out to "the economy" on every issue. That is how it is !! i know, i dont like it either, i prefer the social democratic models in europe. But unless u r proposing a revolution to replace our consumer society and global consumer economy with " the principle of consumption based on need rather than want." then u r living in a fantasy world.
What is so dangerous about an incinerator? Of course fumes can be treated, they are all over the world already....they were even in victorian ireland, smake stacks had cataylists adds to remove and "clean" the smoke as much as they could. We are far more sophisticated now, and chemically extracting dangerous gases from exhausts are common-place. Have you never heard of catayletic converters in cars ???? guess what they do????
Of course it is not a perfect solution, it is not a perfect world, and yes in a perfect world there would less waste etc....but it exists and we must do something with it. What is so dangerous about burning and treating it?
Incinerators are not the fact of life that you are trying to suggest they are. They are being urgently avoided in many countries, including the US who have virtually stopped building them. A number of European countries are adopting the same approach. As was pointed out in another article more than 300 proposals have been defeated in the usa.
Moreover, the technology that is being proposed for Ringaskiddy is untried - yet another guinea-pig project approved by foolish Irish agencies and their officers.
There is NO such thing as a safe incinerator - they all involve death and damage to health. Thats a fact whether you chose to believe it or not and is the reason why other countries have abandoned them as a response to waste. You go and live in Ringaskiddy village if you feel so certain that you are right.
This is not a situation about which we can do nothing and although you may personally not feel inclined to get off your bum and challenge what is happening, many other people do. Should we succeed, you will of course benefit from our efforts. You say all this pollution and the greed and consumption that drive it is inevitable. If it is inevitable it is only because of people exactly like you who sit back doing nothing about the matter, criticising those who do with factual inaccuracies and infuriating indifference to the truth and to the damage that other people are decent enough to try to prevent.
Incineration is safe. Who says so. Well the World Health Organisation, the EU Commission, the Governments of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, France, Switzerland Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the UK, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the EPA and others say so.
Incineration is not declining in Europe. It is growing. Which counties are you referring to when you say they have stopped building them.
The technology proposed for Ringaskiddy is not "untried". There are many fluidised bed incinerators operating in Europe and Japan. The most recent one built was for the city of Madrid just a few years ago.
I agree that there are not enough recycling facilities. That is not Governments fault - its Local Authorities who are responsible for providing these facilities. You are also right when you say we produce too much waste. But who does? The public have to accept some of the responsibility.
To say that incineration is safe is a straightforward lie. If you proceed with your pollution project you WILL injure and kill people living in Cork Harbour - and anywhere else that you build an incinerator.
Anyone who wants the real facts about incineration will not get them from John Ahern, the paid mouthpiece for the industry who make profit out of the filth they put into our environment.
Try, instead, the Global Anti Incinerator Alliance for some real facts and figures. Also, selective quoting from WHO guidelines does nothing to alter these facts: incineration is a deadly, lazy and indifferent solution to our waste management problems. It is based on the ruthless calculation by those who stand to make a profit by it that it is worth killing and injuring health, inflicting birth defects on children and untold damage on farms and food producers in the vicinity so that they can rack up handsome profits for themselves. When a country as capitalist as the USA decides to pull back from incineration, you can be sure that something is very wrong with it. The US EPA is clear: the incinerator that does not emit dioxins has not been built; there is no safe level of dioxins.
Waste management is an issue that brings us face to face with the unpleasant realities of the indulgent lifestyles we had hoped we could lead with impunity. There are no simple solutions and incineration is just that: a simplistic and deadly solution with the attraction for unscrupulous people that they can actually make a profit out of it. This is not a message the the average Mr Smug and Ms Complacent wants to hear, of course, but it's true anyway and the 'James' of this world, it seems, will have to be choking in dioxins before they are prepared to grow up and face the facts.
Quoting the Irish EPA as an authority for your position is really a sort of twisted joke, Mr Ahern. They have repeatedly disgraced themselves over this and other environmental issues and of course now that one of their Directors includes a former colleague of yours at Indaver we have no doubt what sort of expertese they prefer to listen to. No health impact study was done in the process of approving these incinerators. That is against the WHO guidelines that you are so fond of selectively quoting. The rejection of the incinerator proposal by An Bord Pleanala's own inspector - on 14 different grounds - tells us all we need to know about this project: it is being forced through against all logic and principle for reasons which our government are not being straightforward about. The inspector's report was ignored and that fact is now at the heart of the approval recently given for a judicial review of the decision to approve regardless.
And if all this wasnt bad enough, locating these filthy incinerators on top of a major population centre is nothing short of a criminal act. That is also against WHO guidelines, incidentally, as is placing them within any locality in which there are centres of employment and study - exactly the situation in Ringaskiddy. It is also against WHO guidelines to site them on land liable to flooding - which this site is - and actually was flooded in recent months.
Distinguishing between local and central government is a red herring. Representatives of the same parties are the ones who are guiding this project through, and local politicians are routinely instructed on what the party line is. Support for this comes from the very top, make no mistake about it. It has been particularly nauseating, in fact, to hear the mealy mouthed, half baked objections to this proposal from local Fianna Failers. It's difficult to retain local popularity while trying desperately not to contradict the party line where this issue is concerned. By the way, where is Michael Martin on this issue? Wanting it both ways, is where. Mr Martin has been trying to argue that perhaps we have enough pollution in Cork Harbour while at the same time declaring the he is not personally opposed to incineration. We're not fooled, Michael.
Nobody who opposes incinerators is saying that there are not equally foolish and ruthless interestes eslewhere in the world who are also trying to make easy profits from waste management. Ireland has no monopoly on foolish and ruthless politicians. The reports posted on this site are true: many countries, in recognition of the fact that incineration is so deadly are trying their best to row back from it as a solution. Again go to the GAIA website if you want to know the truth.
Incineration is not an industry with a great future for all the reasons outlined above. But in Ireland, of course, we are again being prostitutued by dull-witted politicians who insist on allowing foreign polluters to take advantage of our small country. Time and again they have done this to us. These politicians have no respect for their own country or for its people and routinely treat us all with contempt and arrogance in this and in many other social and community issues.
The most recent example of the 'fuck you' attitude of Fianna Fail to the people of Cork can be witnessed by the building of a monstrous construction by the Johnson & Johnson company right at the highest part of the lower harbour, dominating the skyline like a monument to everything that is greedy and corrupt about this government. You'd imagine that local planners and developers would be sensitive to the heightened sense of outrage that local people feel about what is being done to their environment, but no, they are so high on their own arrogance that there is nothing they will stop at.
The Fianna Fail strangelhold on this country needs to be utterly smashed, once and for all, before they completely destroy what integrity we have left as a community. Its up to us, the electorate, to go out there and show them who is boss when the election comes around. Vote for anyone, but dont vote for them.
If I have to put my money where my ethics are I cannot invest in your company in any way. by taxes. I would be exposing my adopted county neighbours to liabilities which must be avoided at all costs.
My wholehearted support must be to support companies that make a positive contribution to society while avoiding companies whose activities can harm society and the natural environment.
If Cadbury UK have stated in writing that they will not purchase cocoa from a cocoa mill nex t to a proposed mill incinerator. Halton Flour Mill and Dover Flour both threatened to discontinue purchasing wheat in the area if a planned hazardous waste incinerator went ahead. Where would that leave farmers who are already hard pressed.?The fact that the burning of any rubbish would leave us looking for landfill for the ash (approx. one third) . There is no licenced toxic dump in Ireland so it would have to be exported to Europe or China.
"There's a hole in the bucket dear John dear John. "
Some quotes from Dr Paul Connett's talk on Saturday, March 27, 1999 - which relate in part to the cancer causing dioxins from incinerators:
"Well, they selected this time for me because they didn't want you to vomit on an empty stomach."
"The bad law of pollution is - The level of pollution increases directly, community by community, state by state, with the level of corruption. The more corrupt your state, the more polluted your state would be or your town."
"That's the bad law. The good law says: The level of pollution decreases systematically as the level of public participation increases. The more we are involved the less polluted and the less threatened we are by these authorities. To put it another way, polite people get poisoned; angry people get organized. And that's what this is all about, this conference. It's to take that anger and make it work for you. Instead of making you depressed, making you agitated. There's nothing wrong with anger. There's a hell of a lot wrong with cynicism. But there's nothing wrong with anger. It's very healthy."
"But we have to struggle to indicate that this equally devastating threat from within from organochlorines, PCBs, dioxins and germs building up in the environment, in our foods, in our human tissues and in our breast milk. And although the emphasis has been on breast milk, even before we get to the breast milk stage the baby has been bathed with these things in the womb."
"When the people lead, eventually the leaders will follow."
For the full text of Professor Connett's talk on March 27th 1999 please see:
For information on Dr Paul Connett and his work involving Resource Recovery Parks (RRPs) please see:
"THE Department of the Marine is to investigate a secret pollution reporting deal between a factory and a fisheries board.
Aughinish Alumina made an agreement with the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board in 2003 which meant it did not have to notify the board of breaches of its pollution control licence unless they exceeded it by 10%.
The Cappagh Farmers’ Support Group, which represents locals near the West Limerick factory, wrote to the Department of the Marine to demand an investigation.
Chairman Patrick Sheehan said: “We now have a situation where a private deal was done between Aughinish Alumina and the fisheries board, both knowing that it was in breach of the Aughinish integrated pollution control (IPC) licence and both went ahead with it.”
He said this had serious consequences for the independence of the board.
Marine Minister Pat the Cope Gallagher told the group he had asked his officials to investigate.
The company, the largest producer of alumina in Europe, did not notify the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the agreement, according to the agency’s 2003 audit.
An Aughinish Alumina spokesman said he believed the company was now compliant with its IPC licence.
“You can take it that we have done what we’re required to do,” he said.
The fisheries board is tasked with protecting and conserving sea angling and inland fisheries in the Mid West area. A spokesman said the agreement with Aughinish Alumina no longer existed but was unavailable for further comment.
Last year Taoiseach Bertie Ahern visited the plant and when questioned about the health concerns of locals, defended its record as the most “regulated” company of its kind in the world. "
It is very frightening to hear the comment of the EPA with regard to Aughinish Alumina 's secret pact with the Fisheries Board, and when they have breached their licence by 10% their spokeswoman saying “Once the Fisheries are satisfied with the accepted level of compliance then so too are the EPA.”
She added that the EPA would need to see confirmation of such an agreement in writing.
Ref. Examiner 5th Dec. 2005
There can be no doubt that the EPA protects industry at all costs.