Sunday 17 February 2008

Coolmore group accused of vindictive campaign

A business consortium hoping to build a €100 million waste treatment plant in south Tipperary has accused John Magnier's Coolmore group of conducting "a personalised and vindictive campaign" against its previous proposal to build an incinerator.

Martin Byrne, head of Avglade, told a Bord Pleanála hearing in Clonmel yesterday the company had withdrawn plans to build the incinerator and the Coolmore group had agreed to discontinue High Court proceedings.

Avglade had received planning permission for the incinerator from South Tipperary County Council despite objections from Coolmore, owner of the country's leading stud farm and Ballydoyle stables. Avglade had been running a rendering facility near Ballydoyle, but wanted to build the incinerator because of new EU rules on disposal of animal waste products. Mr Byrne said at a meeting in December 2002 that no money was exchanged and it was made clear (by Coolmore) that Avglade could return to the business of rendering.

The company claims it developed a new, more environmentally friendly proposal for a "bio-energy plant", which is now also being opposed by Coolmore.

Avglade is involved in a joint venture with Bioverda and Dawn Meats called Green Organics Energy Ltd to build the plant.

There were sharp exchanges at the hearing between top trainer Aidan O'Brien and Rory Brady, the former attorney general, for Green Organics Energy. Mr O'Brien said "for us [ at Ballydoyle] this is a life or death situation" and if the new plant was built, "we're out of business". He said "the racehorse is the most sensitive creature in the world" and "any facility of this size is not compatible with our operations".

He repeatedly told Mr Brady he didn't understand the issues because "you don't train horses".

Mr Brady claimed that even if there were "no vapours and no smells and no discharges" from the proposed facility, Mr O'Brien would still be opposed to it.

Michael Parsons
Irish Times

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