4 November 2004 Edition

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Wicklow's illegal dump debacle

"As the old cliche goes, it is more in sorrow than in anger that we find ourselves again dealing with planning in County Wicklow," says David Gahan, chair of Wicklow Sinn Féin.

The latest controversy to hit the Garden County has encompassed massive traffic headaches, an illegal dump and a road to nowhere. "If you want to know if truth is ever stranger than fiction, all you have to do is look at planning by Wicklow County Council," says Gahan, a Kilcoole resident.

The latest debacle was first reported late last month, when it came to light that a proposed road from the N11 at Kilpedder to Kilcoole could be delayed for up to three years. It merely confirmed locals' suspicions about the illegal dumping that had taken place in the area over many years, contamination from which has delayed the road scheme.

"Even the dogs in the street knew what was going on there," said Gahan. "This is an important road because it has to service a huge new development just south of Greystones. The thousands of people moving into those new houses have no easy way to reach the N11 — which should be three short miles away. Instead, the new residents clog up the old roads around Greystones, Kilcoole and Delgany as they begin their commutes," he said. "It is a mess and a nightmare."

Important questions

According to Gahan, the whole issue raises a number of important questions:

"Were county council engineers not involved in the 1998 Court Case brought by the county council to prevent illegal dumping along the site where now wants to place a road?

"Why wasn't the site surveyed prior to CPO and core samples not taken knowing that waste existed?

"Were lies told in the Circuit Court in 1998? It has been reported that the court accepted in 1998 that the waste was "inert". It later transpired that some of it was contaminated. What action is to be taken to reconcile these discrepancies?

"Will the county manager or Wicklow's brand new Minister against the Environment confirm that the waste (with one estimate at around 80,000 loads) will be removed at no cost to the taxpayer?

"Can these jokers do nothing properly? Really, can it be that difficult?"

Gahan says that residents deserve better. "Three years is too long to wait for someone else's mistake. Irish taxpayers deserve better too. We should not be stuck with astronomical clean up bills because of shoddy work. People are fed up. Councillors and planners have to start doing these things properly."

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