Party to face dilemma as Minister backs incinerator plan
By Dick Hogan from the Irish Times
proposal from Belgian company Indaver to build Ireland's first
hazardous waste incinerator in Ringaskiddy has taken a new twist,
particularly for the Green Party. While the party is vehemently
opposed to incineration, and the Ringaskiddy proposal in particular,
the semi-autonomous government of Flanders in Belgium has decided to
grant planning permission to the same firm for a new incinerator near
the city of Beveren.
more, the application was approved by the Minister for the Environment
and Agriculture, Ms Vera Dua, a member of the local Green Party.
Ireland, which has a dismal recycling record, people in Flanders take
their responsibilities seriously and the region has achieved one of
the highest recycling rates in the world - 66 per cent and climbing.
permission granted to Indaver will now lead to a complete ban on the
dumping of untreated waste in landfill sites. Landfill is running out
in Belgium as it is in Ireland, but pro-active policies have been
adopted there to cope with the situation and in Flanders, visited by
Irish journalists last year, it was obvious they were working.
Indaver planning application to Ms Dua's department, (under Flemish
law, the department decided the issue after an appeal) was for a
460,000 tonne plant capable of handling 230,000 tonnes of sewage
sludge and 230,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste annually.
was sought for a fluidised bed incinerator, the same type of
technology which the company has asked Cork Co Council to approve at
Ringaskiddy on Cork Harbour.
Ringaskiddy, however, the application is for a hazardous rather than
non-hazardous waste facility, although it would incorporate newer
technology than similar plants operated by Indaver in Flanders.
Gael has reversed its policy on incineration and now opposes it, like
the Greens and Sinn Féin, while Fianna Fáil sees it as a necessary
component of Ireland's waste management strategy.
Labour Party, says it is implacably opposed and that incineration
could cause more problems than it solves. Mr Brendan Ryan, the party's
candidate in Cork South Central, the constituency in which Indaver's
plant would be located, says an incinerator would reduce the impetus
to re-use and recycle and would leave both domestic and industrial
waste producers off the hook.
Ryan is a chemical engineer and teaches many students who go on to
work in pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
of them are employed in the Cork Harbour-based companies where already
there are five privately-owned incinerators in operation.
difference, he says, is that these are run by chemical engineers who
understand the particular waste streams with which they deal, while
Indaver's proposal would create "a monster" that would have
to be fed by touting for business.
by the decision of the Flemish government, Indaver says rational
examination will show that incineration is a safe and useful element
of a total waste management strategy.