Oral hearing into €10m Limerick plan postponed

Oral hearing into €10m Limerick plan postponed

Irish Cement's vast factory in Castlemungret | PICTURE: LIAM BURKE/PRESS22

AN oral hearing into proposals by Irish Cement to switch away from fossil fuel has been postponed due to coronavirus.

Next month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was scheduled to hold an inquiry into the firm’s €10m plans to replace petroleum coke with solid recovered waste and tyres at its factory in Mungret.

The proposals have proven to be controversial with local residents with many concerned about the impact on the environment.

However, Irish Cement has always maintained that due to the fact production will take place at such a high temperature, any environmental fears are unfounded.

An Bord Pleanala has already cleared the way for the firm to build the physical components of the development which means a licence from the environmental regulator is all Irish Cement now need to proceed.

However, the oral hearing has now been postponed with the EPA writing to objectors this morning.

“I wish to advise you that due to the current Government Covid-19 restrictions, this oral hearing is now postponed. Once the hearing has been rescheduled, the agency will notify you of the details of the hearing. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and we appreciate your understanding of this matter,” they added.

Fine Gael councillor Daniel Butler said the postponement will give the anti-incineration lobby Limerick Against Pollution more time to prepare its case.

“We need to be prepared. We are under no illusion, Irish Cement are well resourced and well able to prepare in a short period of time for something like this,” he said.

A spokesperson for Irish Cement said the firm has requested the rescheduling of the hearing is prioritised as soon as the public health guidance allows.

"Irish Cement looks forward to the opportunity the oral hearing will provide to reassure the local community of the merits of this project and the fact that it will not negatively impact either health or the environment," the spokesperson added.

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