Catherine Dowling chairperson of RAGE
CONCERN has been growing in west Limerick over movement on plans for the Gortadroma gasification plant — but action group RAGE has urged locals not to panic.
Cadence EnviroPower has lodged a pre-planning application for their proposed waste-to-energy facility, which many residents see as a significant advancement for the controversial project.
But the chairperson of Limerick RAGE — Residents Against Gasification in our Environment — has assured concerned locals that action will be taken once there is actual movement on planning permission for the project.
“They’ve made a pre-application, and RAGE are aware of it. We have drafted in expertise to review the situation and see what move we need to make next, and as soon as we have any information we will be calling a public meeting,” said chair Catherine Dowling, amid calls for an immediate public meeting.
The result of the pre-planning consultation application, lodged with An Bord Pleanála this month, will confirm whether planning will go through Limerick City and County Council or An Bord Pleanála.
If the project is deemed ‘strategic infrastructure’, the responsibility will be with An Bord Pleanála, but if not, it will go through the regular planning process with Limerick City and County Council.
“I just want the public to know, it is not a planning application, it is a stage in the process towards the planning application,” said Ms Dowling.
“Right now, we do not want to call a public meeting, because we do not have anything to inform the public on, other than Cadence asking the question — ‘is this strategic infrastructure?’
“RAGE have met fortnightly for most of the last two years and are continuously monitoring the situation, and staying in close contact with all stakeholders involved. As soon as there is any significant information available we will be calling a full public meeting,” added Ms Dowling.
But former general election candidate Mark Keogh sees this as a “highly significant” development for the plant.
He thinks that there will be “no stopping the project” if it ends up going through An Bord Pleanála, and would prefer to see it land in the hands of Limerick City and County Council, as there may be “a better chance of stopping it”.
Ms Dowling said: “Regardless of whichever authority it goes to, RAGE are going to put in an objection to try to stop it.”
The site for the plant at Gortadroma was leased by Limerick City and County Council in 2015 after councillors voted to grant the lease. Subsequent public outcry led many of the councillors to change their position, with some calling for the lease to be revoked.
However, the council was unable to go back on its decision as legal advice suggested that such action could result in it being liable for a large claim for damages.