13 September 2000 Edition

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Waste management battle spreads


On Monday, Sean McManus proposed that the Sligo Co. Council declare their vote approving MC O'Sullivans' Draft Waste Management plan for the Connaught region null and void, because councillors had not received the full submissions which had been made to the council. The plan proposes to burn 44% of waste in the region.

This is the plan which Galway City and County Councils have rejected out of hand in the last two months. Galway was the very area which MC O'Sullivans selected as the best site for an incinerator. Councillors in Sligo had only been sent a four-line summary of the Earthwatch submission in Sligo, and possibly had not recognised the full implications of the draft plan when they first voted on it.

The Sinn Féin motion to declare their vote null and void was deferred until the next council meeting in November, and councillors will be sent the full Earthwatch submission in the meantime. Councillors will also have to consider the possibility that now Galway has rejected the plan, The Government may hope to locate an incinerator in one of the less polluted counties within the region, which includes Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim.

Mayo County Council also discussed their waste plan last Monday, and again deferred a decision. There is talk of Mayo county councillors drawing up a waste plan for the county.

Concern over government incineration plans is also mounting in Longford, where a public meeting, organised by the county council, was held in Longford on Wednesday evening. Longford Sinn Féin held an anti-incineration picket last Saturday, urging people to come to the public meeting. Longford is in the Midlands Region, where Laois County Council has already rejected incineration.

The North West region of Donegal and Derry is being treated as one. The proposed plan comes before Derry City Council on 18 September. Jim McMenamin of the Buncrana Environmental Group will address Donegal County Councillors at the November meeting of the council's General Purposes Committee.

According to McMenamin, ``the incinerator proposal is being ``aggressively marketed by a small but very rich, powerful and highly focused pressure group financed by the Plastic, Packaging and Waste Disposal industries. Minister Dempsey sees it as the easy, if not lucrative, option, and says I'll take six of them. This has to be stopped.

``Derry and Inishowen people remember the battle 10 years ago to stop Dupont in their tracks when they tried to build an incinerator. The people won then, and we will win again. Maybe they hope to play one side of the border off against the other, but they won't succeed. We're ahead of them because the people in Derry and Donegal are as one. We don't want incineration.''

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