Sunday 20 April 2008

Gas plant objectors willing to take case to the EU

The gas terminal was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála two weeks ago, following the public planning process which culminated in an oral hearing held in January 4.

Throughout that hearing, one group of locals put up a strong fight against the plan, principally on the grounds of safety. They said that if any major accident were to happen on the site many lives would be in danger. Shannon LNG, the company behind the plans, however, said safety procedures at the plant would be extremely high.

‘Our fight isn't over yet by a long shot', KRA member, Johnny McElligott, told The Kerryman. ‘We feel that as a group of ordinary people living in the area we were badly let down by the fast-tracking nature of the strategic infrastructure planning process. The fact that only 40 conditions have been attached to the planning causes us great concern. You'd nearly have 100 conditions attached to building a new house,' he said.

‘We are ordinary people with our own jobs and we spent a lot of time working on our argument before the recent oral hearing and for little support from the State, even though we raised questions of massive importance for everyone in the area. We got no expenses - our chief witness, Dr Jerry Havens, had his flight and board covered to the tune of exactly E2,876, and that was it, we got nothing. Meanwhile, Kerry County Council - who were doing the job they're paid to do - got E43,076, while the board awarded itself E162,124,' he added.

Another KRA member, Raymond O'Mahony, said he felt some of the planning conditions for the LNG terminal gave more consideration to animals than humans.

‘One of the conditions during the building phase is that if a dolphin comes within 500 metres within 20 minutes of explosives [being used during the building] going off those explosions will have to be cancelled. However, for the rest of us, all we get is a one-minute siren warning that an explosion is about to happen,' he added.

The Kerryman

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