Irish Cement's Limerick plans could hit the High Court

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Irish Cement's Limerick plans could hit the High Court

Limerick Against Pollution members at County Hall

IRISH Cement has agreed to address Limerick City and County Council’s economic committee over its controversial plans for Mungret.

And residents who are opposed to the €10m proposal have said they will go to the High Court to stop plans to burn used tyres and other alternative fuels.

Members of Limerick Against Pollution (LAP) descended on County Hall this Monday for the full council meeting to show their opposition to the scheme, with spokesperson Aongus Mitchell saying: “We are going to fight this very hard and long. We are going to make sure our voice is heard.”

They are concerned about the impact on the environment of burning used waste and tyres instead of fossil fuels.

A spokesperson for Irish Cement has confirmed it will accept an invitation from the local authority economic committee to face questions in a public arena from councillors.

“Irish Cement would be more than willing to meet with the committee at council buildings and to explain the proposed development with them there,” the spokesperson confirmed.

The intervention is significant, as it is the first time the firm has accepted to a request for a large scale audience on its plans for the city.

Fianna Fail councillor Noel Gleeson, who chairs the committee confirmed he was in receipt of a letter from the company, while his party colleague, Cllr James Collins suggested the firm addresses a joint meeting of the environment and economic groups.

All this comes against the backdrop of LAP holding a public meeting which drew a crowd of around 70 people to St Paul’s National School in Dooradoyle. With the company seeking planning permission and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licence to change processes, Tim Hourigan, who chairs LAP says residents will exhaust all avenues of appeal against this – including going to the High Court.

“None of us would relish it. But if that’s what we need to do to protect the air that we breathe, then that’s what we’ll have to do. We’d prefer it if the EPA looked at it on its merits, and decided it was a bad idea,” he said.

Ken Moran, who is also a LAP member, added: “You cannot burn one tyre in your back garden due to the amount of good legislation which is out there. It just does not seem to make sense that it is okay for Irish Cement to burn more than one million tyres a month. I’m an asthmatic, but choose not to smoke. But we will all be passive smoking on a massive scale if this goes ahead.”

He indicated that it would not be possible for Irish Cement to only use tyres in its plant, given fact only limited quantities are piled up in yards around the country.

Irish Cement communications boss Brian Gilmore has previously said if the firm did not get permission to change process, it’s 80 jobs would be put at risk.

“I think it’s disgraceful from Irish Cement to be scaremongering people like his. This is their livelihoods and their employment,”  Cllr Collins said.