The HSA are advising An Bord Pleanála - who are charged with deciding on the planning process in relation to the terminal - on health and safety issues surrounding the plans; chiefly how the storage of millions of gallons of liquid natural gas could might pose a threat to locals and how much of a threat it would constitute.
However, the HSA ran into some controversy in January - prior to the oral hearing held by An Bord Pleanála into the matter in Tralee - when they made their positive advice to the board before their deadline for submissions from members of the public had actually expired.
They had stated in a letter to the board: (T)he authority DOES NOT ADVISE AGAINST (sic) the granting of planning permission in the context of Major Accident Hazards.
With the Kilcolgan Residents Association - comprising scores of people from the landbank opposed to the current plans - on the point of submitting their health and safety concerns to the HSA, the apparent decision by the authority came as a major shock.
They objected to the curtailed deadline and the HSA quickly recanted, saying they would alter their decision should the KRA have pointed up anything they might have overlooked in their survey of the health and safety issues surrounding the proposal.
But in a letter to An Bord Pleanála this week, the HSA said they found no evidence to change their advice based on the comprehensive health and safety submission put forward by the KRA.
Signed by Senior HSA Inspector, Patrick Conneely, the HSA letter states: The Authority has now had the opportunity to examine, in detail, the documents submitted to it by Kilcolgan Residents Association on January 10, 2008, in relation to the proposed LNG facility at Kilcolgan Lower, Co Kerry.These have been reviewed in conjunction with both the oral and written evidence given to An Bord Pleanála during the health and safety module of the Oral Hearing on the Shannon LNG project.After careful consideration of all of the relevant material, the Authority finds no basis to alter the advice given to An Bord Pleanála as contained in the letter dated January 9, 2008.
At the time of print The Kerryman was unable to make contact with the chief spokesperson for the Kilcolgan group for comment.