'No rubber burning going on' at Limerick plant, says Irish Cement

Firm moves to reassure local residents

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

'No rubber burning going on' at Limerick plant, says Irish Cement

Irish Cement’s plant at Mungret

IRISH Cement has moved to reassure Mungret residents no burning of rubber material is currently taking place at its factory.

As part of future plans, the company is seeking to phase out the use of petroleum coke, and use rubber tyres and solid recovered waste. The firm’s licence application – which has caused concern in many quarters – is currently before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Claire Keating, the chairperson of neighbouring Sli na Manach residents association, said many parents in Mungret park complained of a smell of rubber allegedly emanating from the plant.

She said Limerick Against Pollution – the group set up in opposition to Irish Cement’s plans – had received reports that Irish Cement has already started tests of rubber at the plant.

But a spokesperson for the firm has issued a firm denial of this, saying: “Irish Cement can categorically state there is no burning of any rubber material taking place at the Mungret factory at the present time.

"The company is not currently licensed for such activity and it would therefore be inappropriate and would go against the terms of the industrial emissions licence under which the factory currently operates.”

Separately, it has also emerged this week that three real-time air monitors have been installed to measure the emissions coming from Irish Cement’s plant.

One has been erected in O’Connell Street, one in Castletroy and one beside the plant in Mungret.

All this comes against the backdrop of a public meeting next Monday night in which Sinn Fein MEP Liadh Ni Riada will outline the avenues of appeal residents have through the European Union.

The meeting, which kicks off at 7.30pm in the South Court Hotel, will look at options of European intervention.

Cllr Cian Prendiville has also criticised the environmental regulator after it emerged Irish Cement will be asked to inspect its own premises.

Even though this is standard procedure, Cllr Prendiville wants the EPA to instead carry out an independent probe.

“It is the same type of light-touch, self-regulation that we saw in the banks before the crash. Let’s not forget that Irish Cement originally completely denied the dust emission was anything to do with them, it was only after the community proved the dust came from their factory that they admitted it,” he said.