Divided opinions on County Limerick waste facility plans

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

PLANS to develop a 4,000-tonne waste transfer facility on the site of the old Kantoher plant in Killeedy have split local politicians, with some firmly opposed to the project while others urge caution and “dialogue” in the local community.

PLANS to develop a 4,000-tonne waste transfer facility on the site of the old Kantoher plant in Killeedy have split local politicians, with some firmly opposed to the project while others urge caution and “dialogue” in the local community.

White’s Skip Hire of Broadford is currently exploring the possibility of renovating a disused section of the old Kantoher plant for its facility to separate recyclables from waste collected by its domestic bin service.

The company has insisted that the facility will pose no risk to the environment and will create six to ten new full-time jobs. However members of the Killeedy community have voiced strong opposition to the plans, fearing the facility will create vermin, noise and odour problems and may contaminate a local water supply.

The issue has split local politicians, with Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins stating that he “completely supports” objecting locals. However Cllr Francis Foley has called for “dialogue” and compromise, while Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, Cllr Jerome Scanlan, said that there needs to be “balance” between locals’ fears and economic reality.

It is understood that the company is still looking at a number of potential sites for its facility.

Niall Collins said that “the way a community would look at things like this is as ‘the thin end of the wedge’”, and that “I support them completely”.

Cllr Liam Galvin, however, said that until a formal application is submitted “we’re boxing in the dark”. “We’re going to have to wait and see. Let’s be fair to the White family – they’re local people creating employment. I think something can be reached here that would suit all parties”.

Cllr Michael Collins, a native of Killeedy, said that his opposition to the plans “is nothing personal”. “I think that the community has to come first... there are suitable lands in Newcastle West, and I think that the council should be taking steps to accommodate [the White family]”.

Cllr Scanlan said that “as Cathaoirleach, I have an obligation to keep an open mind”, and called for “balance” in what has admittedly become “a very emotive” issue. “I can absolutely accept why people in the immediate vicinity have concerns. But everybody has got to realise that we are vulnerable from a jobs point of view.” Cllr Francis Foley, meanwhile, called for calm. “The most important thing is that all sides in this get along. No one wants to see a community divided.”