An Bord Pleanala cements date for oral hearing over Irish Cement's Limerick plans

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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An Bord Pleanala cements date for oral hearing over Irish Cement's Limerick plans

An Bord Pleanala will hold an oral hearing over Irish Cement's plans later this month

AN Bord Pleanala has confirmed that an oral hearing into controversial plans set for Irish Cement’s Mungret plant will take place later this month.

The national appeals body has set aside Tuesday, August 29, Wednesday, August 30 and provisionally Thursday August 31 for a full inquiry into what the firm has planned for Mungret.

It comes after they received dozens of objections concerned about Irish Cement’s plans to stop using fossil fuel.

Instead, under €10m plans, the firm is proposing to use waste recovered from landfill, and used tyres.

But residents are worried about the impact on the environment, claiming using these materials will release more noxious gases into the air.

Irish Cement has always insisted its proposals will not see an increase of gases into the air – and they are crucial for the plant to remain competitive into the future.

The oral hearing will take place at the South Court Hotel in Raheen, and allow all parties who have formally made submissions in favour and against the plans make their cases.

It will kick off at 10am on all days.

Tim Hourigan of Limerick Against Pollution, the group set up in opposition to the multi-million euro proposals, says they will lobby An Bord Pleanala to stretch the hearing beyond a maximum of three days.

“Everyone we have spoken to and who signed up to our appeal are keen to attend. We have 30 points we have appealed the application on. We will be going through them, and these will have to be contested out by the other side. Even thrashing that out would take more than the time allotted,” he said.

Mr Hourigan also pointed out that all the objectors are entitled to be heard – and experts brought in by either side will also require time.

However, local Fine Gael councillor Daniel Butler feels three days will be long enough for everyone to have their say.

He said: “If three days is not enough, i'm sure An Bord Pleanala would add another few days on. The idea is to have a fair, open, transparent and balanced hearing, and allow people to put their case forward and ask questions.”

An Bord Pleanala will rule on the case after the hearing.