The Mayor of Limerick City and County Council has admitted they made a “mistake” in granting a lease to a company planning to build a waste-to-energy plant at Gortadroma in West Limerick.
Cllr Liam Galvin made his comments at a public meeting in Shanagolden this Thursday evening which heard trenchant local opposition to the plan.
Hundreds of people turned up in Shanagolden hall for the meeting, many of them wearing red to show their opposition to the project.
They were given a presentation on gasification by Leonardo Riera and Dr Barry Wilson of Cadence EnviroPower (CEP), the company hoping to build the proposed facility, who insisted that gasification was not the same as incineration and that the technology they planned to use was safe.
Mr Riera described gasification as the “cleanest and most efficient solution available today for the conversion of waste streams into energy”, while Dr Wilson pointed out that gasification was the “preferred option” for converting waste to energy.
Dr Wilson also pointed to the company’s track record in building and operating similar plants around the world. However, when pressed to produce specific data on the emissions for a plant identical to the one proposed for Gortadroma, he acknowledged that they did not have data on a plant “exactly like this”.
The meeting, which lasted over four hours, heard from many local residents who voiced outright opposition to the project.
Local GP Mary Woulfe told the meeting that the proposal was “completely unacceptable”.
“I find absolutely incredulous that someone can stand up there and try to defend a plant that is going to be burning thousands of tonnes of rubber every day and try to tell us that it will have no consequences,” she said.
Local councillors also came in for severe criticism for agreeing to lease the site at Gortadroma to CEP. Cllr Cian Prendiville pointed out that the three Anti Austerity Alliance councillors were the only members of the council who had voted against the granting of the lease and he called for this decision to be reversed pending a full consultation and a second vote in six months time.
Cllr Galvin admitted that they made a “mistake” in approving the lease and appealed to the company to agree to the lease being rescinded.
“It is quite clear that nobody here wants it,” he said.