Plans to locate a municipal waste incinerator on the Poolbeg peninsula in Dublin received a further blow yesterday as MEPs indicated they were against the site selected by Dublin City Council.
The EU's Petitions Committee met Minister for the Environment John Gormley, city council officials and residents opposing the incinerator and visited the proposed site.
The delegation, which included Irish MEPs Proinsias De Rossa, Kathy Sinnott and Mairéad McGuinness, are investigating whether EU environmental legislation was breached during the site selection process.
The investigation was initiated by an appeal to the committee by Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews on behalf of local group Combined Residents Against Incineration (CRAI), which claims the site was selected on the basis of inaccurate information.
Mr Gormley said he was precluded from commenting on the proposed incinerator at present because it is the subject of a live planning application to An Bord Pleanála. However, Mr Gormley had, prior to the general election, appealed to the planning board against the project and has long been one of the strongest opponents of the incinerator.
The committee is due to make its recommendation to the EU Commission in September. The recommendation will also be forwarded to the Government. If it is determined that EU regulations have been broken, the commission can issue infringement proceedings, including an order to restart the site selection process.
Meanwhile, contaminated drinking water in Connemara and the environmental impact of the Corrib gas project were among issues raised at the EU Petitions Committee public meeting in the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway last night.
The meeting heard that over 1,300 people in Carraroe, Connemara, have been boiling or buying drinking water for over two decades. This is due to continued sewage contamination of the public supply.
Galway County Council has plans to upgrade sewage treatment, following a 2002 European Court of Justice ruling which found it to be in breach of the drinking water directive. However, the environmental impact statement for the upgrade has had to be re-advertised, due to a flaw in the tender.
Olivia Kelly & Lorna Siggins
© 2007 The Irish Times