MUNGRET Park sits not far from the Irish Cement factory, it’s towers shadowing ominously over the greens which are usually alive with students playing.
On any other day, the park would be an orchestra of joyful fun as the children enjoy their lunch break, but on Wednesday afternoon, the gleeful tone turned serious and were all carrying the same message, ‘we demand clean air.’
The protest, which saw students from four schools from the nearby area join forces, was in response to the granting by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of a licence to the firm to burn used tyres and solid recovered waste at its plant.
The schools involved were Gaelscoil An Ráithín, Limerick Educate Together, Mungret Community College and St Nessan's National School which are all located close to the Irish Cement plant. Students, parents and teachers from each come out to show they were not supportive of the EPA’s decision.
“We love our new park, we love our schools and most importantly, we love our fresh air. If they burn tires and waste, they will pollute our fresh air. So we are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to overturn their decision. Our rights should come before company profits,” said James Tuohy a Special Education teacher at Limerick Educate Together, who led the chants with a megaphone.
“I think there might be close to a thousand students out here,” he added.
Chants of “burning waste is not fair, we demand clean air” could be heard from the students as they went about their march of the park.
“We are gathered here today to oppose the decision by the EPA to grant a license to Irish Cement to burn tires and waste. We believe it is the wrong decision,” said Mr Tuohy.
“The rights of the children who play here, the parents and the staff, should come before people who want to make money. Hopefully, they will listen to us. We have had a great turnout and been really lucky with the weather. Hopefully, they will listen to us and take back their decision,” he added.