Sunday 30 November 2008

bedsits to be banned

THEY were home to generations of teenage boys and girls when they first came up from the country -- but now the humble bedsit is about to be banned by the nanny state.

From young girls with their first civil service job, to teenage lads fresh into the world of college, they were the first taste of freedom for many. A venue for all-night parties, the bedsit was a unique rite of passage long before the gap year or the posh apartments of Dublin 4.

But now Environment Minister John Gormley is planning to introduce new laws to ban the traditional bedsit, as part of a series of measures which his department believes will improve standards of living for people in the rented accommodation sector.

The new bill will spell the end for the conventional bedsit -- meaning residents from neighbouring bedsits will no longer be allowed to share a communal bathroom.

The four-year run-in programme, to be introduced on February 1, 2009, will also require landlords to improve heat, lighting and fire safety.

But Stephen Faughnan, chairman of the Irish Property Owner's Association (IPOA), says the new legislation will only affect those most in need of affordable accommodation.

"Bedsits are normally positioned in city centres, where they are convenient to the shops for people who have no car and who are usually on the lower income level who want a comfortable, affordable place to live," he said.

"If there are 9,000 of these units housing some 15,000 people, then surely there is a market for them?"

Mr Faughnan described Mr Gormley as living in "Cloud Cuckoo Land" and pointed out the inconsistencies in his proposed legislation.

"Does this mean that when we go into hospital that we get a separate bathroom? Does it also mean some of the people who currently live in these bedsits will get a separate bathroom in their hostel accommodation or on the side of the street when they become homeless, as many of them will?"

Anthony Murtagh, from Rathmines in Dublin, has lived in both self-contained and non self-contained bedsits for the past 11 years.

He says he is "appalled" at the proposed legislation.

"I've never had any difficulties when it comes to sharing a bathroom. I've had to share a communal kitchen in the past, where there might have been a small issue over people taking their neighbour's bread or biscuits, but then the person would leave a small note and write their name on the pack and everything would be sorted," he said.

"I've shared bathrooms with neighbours too and I have never had a problem there. People understood which toothbrush was theirs and there was always a mutual respect there to leave the place clean and tidy. I would get to know the time of morning my neighbours would need to wash and then I'd use the bathroom in the evening when it was quiet."

"If this law is passed it will be absolutely ridiculous. Rathmines is 'bedsit land', as is Phibsborough. Where does the Minister expect everyone to live when these places are being renovated?"

Sunday Independent

‘No need’ for second incinerator in Dublin

Dublin City Council has said there is ‘‘no need’’ for a further waste incinerator in the capital.

This is despite claims at an oral hearing into plans for an incinerator that the Dublin waste management strategy ‘‘does not preclude a second incinerator’’. The hearing, under An Bord Pleanala’s fast-track strategic infrastructure process, is examining plans by Energy Answers International to build a €200 million incinerator, energy recovery and concrete block making facility near Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

Helen O’Keeffe told the hearing last week that, while the Dublin waste management strategy referred to a plant at Poolbeg, ‘‘there is no statement that there is to be only one’’. She said that ‘‘a significant number of developments are not specified’’ in the county plan, but that these had still gone ahead.

However, a spokeswoman for Dublin City Council - one of the four authorities which drew up the county’s waste management strategy - told The Sunday Business Post that ‘‘there is no need for a further incinerator in Dublin’’.

Meanwhile, Indaver Ireland, which has started site development on a €130 million incinerator in Meath, has applied for planning permission to build two incinerators at Ringaskiddy in Cork. Original planning permission for a hazardous waste incinerator in the area expires in January, so the company submitted a new application to An Bord Pleanala last Friday for both hazardous and non-hazardous facilities, in the same location.

Indaver Ireland commercial director Jackie Keaney said she ‘‘hoped’’ the new application would not result in another legal battle with Ringaskiddy residents.

‘‘If we get permission to build, we may just go ahead and not wait for a judicial review of court challenges because Ireland has to divert 1.3 million tonnes, of a total two million that goes to landfill, by 2013,” she said.

Sunday Business Post

Waste conference told of tension and uncertainty

Lack of regulation and structured legislation on waste management is continuing to fuel tensions between public and private waste collectors and is making it more difficult to secure finance for waste infrastructure, ac cording to speakers at an annual waste summit in Croke Park last week.

In a discussion between the public and private sector on the future of waste management in Ireland, Waterford county manager Ray O’Dwyer said that, if the private operators want control of the waste sector, they must deal ‘‘with the PSO(public service obligation) side, civic amenities, litter, clean-ups and the waiver scheme.”

Fighting with each other is not a constructive way to find a solution to the current problems; we also need clarity of policy and legislation and I hope that, in five years’ time, we have a suite of waste treatments that are bankable, affordable and sustainable,” O’Dwyer said.

There was also much debate about the merits of incineration versus mechanical biological treatment (MBT). MBT involves sorting and streaming waste and is advocated by environment minister John Gormley. Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) representatives said that ‘‘all elements of all the different technologies have a part to play’’.

Alison Fanagan of A&L Goodbody’s said the fact the international review of waste management in Ireland would not be complete until July 2009,was also proving problematic.

‘‘There have been around five different policy documents in the last ten years, and now another is due that could totally change the current direction of management - so it is very difficult for those in the area to commit to certain infrastructures, or raise the finance to invest in them,” she said.

‘‘It is hard to convince banks to lend money, when for example MBT is not in the existing policy but it is favoured by minister Gormley.”

The sixth National Waste Summit was organised by The Sunday Business Post and iQuest.

Sunday Business Post

€350m plan for two power stations in County Offaly

AN engineering consortium is to build two power stations in Co Offaly in a €350m plan backed by the taoiseach's younger brother, Barry Cowen.

Lumcloon Energy plans to start construction work on the stations, which will be located on the site of the former ESB power station at Ferbane, Co Offaly, next year. It is understood that global engineering giants including Alstom, General Electric, Mitsubishi and Mitsui have already expressed an interest in building and financing the stations. The two gas-fired plants will produce a combined total of 350 megawatts of power. One of the plants will be a 'peaking' station designed to cover wind power shortfalls.

The companies behind Lumcloon, R&R Mechanical and Terotech International, are engineering concerns that have previously worked on projects such as Huntstown power station in Dublin and Tynagh power station in Galway.

According to Nigel Reams, managing director of Tullamore-based R&R Mechanical, his company decided to build its own power stations to showcase its R&D work. He said, however, that the operation of both facilities would be outsourced.

Unlike other current power plant developers, Lumcloon has no intention of supplying electricity to customers. It will sell its output to other suppliers through the all-island Single Electricity Market.

Reams said Lumcloon hoped to start construction work on the project next year and that it should be completed in 2011, subject to regulatory hurdles.

"We have permission for the 100 megawatt peaking plant already but we have yet to secure permission for the larger 250 megawatt plant," he said. "We also have to complete discussions with Eirgrid about securing a connection."

It is expected, however, that Lumcloon should encounter little difficulty in securing planning permission for the second plant as Offaly County Council has signalled its approval in principle to the proposal, which will provide at least 500 jobs during construction.

According to Lumcloon, Barry Cowen has played a key role in securing all-party support for the project.

Sunday Tribune

Friday 28 November 2008

Planned Shannon development 'too large'

A GROUP representing residents in the Tipperary-Clare border towns of Ballina and Killaloe on the banks of the River Shannon say that a €60 million residential and commercial development planned for the area is too large in scale and "would be more at home in the Dublin Docklands".

The claim has been rejected by Eclipse Developments which has applied to North Tipperary County Council for planning permission to build a development that would include 85 apartments, five townhouses, 16 commercial units, 260 boat berths and a bar and restaurant on its riverside site at Derg Marina, Cullenagh, Ballina.

At a public meeting convened by the Ballina Marina Action Group in the Lakeside Hotel last night, group chairman Joe Cahalane said: "The sheer scale of this development is far too big for this picturesque heritage town. The buildings proposed would be more at home in the Dublin Docklands or a university campus."

He said the project was "masquerading as a marina development when it is, to all intents and purposes, a massive apartment complex rising to five storeys at its highest point".

His group was not against development on the site, but objected to the scale of the proposal.

David Lehane, head of Eclipse Development, said the company had addressed the concerns held by the majority of local residents in the pre-planning phase, "but there remains a very small number of people who continue to oppose the development."

He said the €60 million investment would be worth in the region of €6 million annually to the local economy. If planning was granted, it would create 120 jobs over the two-year construction phase and 70 jobs on completion. "It's disappointing that a core group of individuals are seeking to deprive the area of such a development."

Mr Cahalane of the action group accused the company of a "dismissive attitude" saying the site abounded a special protection area and special area of conservation. "We asked for an environmental impact assessment, but we never got one," he added.

Irish Times

Plan 'does not preclude' second incinerator

THE RELIANCE in the Dublin waste management plan on a waste-to-energy plant at Poolbeg did not preclude the development of a similar plant elsewhere in the region, it was claimed at the Rathcoole incinerator hearing.

The hearing, under An Bord Pleanála's fast-track strategic infrastructure process, is inquiring into plans by Energy Answers International to build a €200 million incinerator, energy-recovery and concrete-block-making facility in a quarry south of Rathcoole in west Dublin.

Helen O'Keeffe a planning consultant told the hearing that, while the Dublin Waste Management Strategy referred to a plant at Poolbeg, "there is no statement that there is to be only one".

She said it would "not be prudent to ignore other objectives such as eliminating landfill". The need to reduce landfill was an objective which the Energy Answers plant fulfilled, she said.

In response to cross-examination by Pat Butler SC, for Rathcoole Against Incineration Dioxins (Raid), Ms O'Keeffe agreed the South Dublin County Development Plan had not specifically mentioned a waste-to-energy plant in the area. But she said there were other objectives in the plan which could be satisfied by the Energy Answers proposal.

In response to Mr Butler's repeated questions as to whether the development was stated as a proposed objective of the county development plan, Ms O'Keeffe asserted "a significant number of developments are not specified". She cited the example of bring centres and bottle banks, which were not specifically identified, yet had been provided across the region.

Mr Butler told Ms O'Keeffe the waste-to-energy plant was not specified in the development plan and she was interpreting other aspects of the plan and "shoehorning it in".

Michael O'Donnell SC, for Cavan Developments, said to be significant landowners in the Rathcoole area, asked Ms O'Keeffe if she had checked the planning history of the quarry on site when she made her submission that it was a lawful and compliant activity.

Ms O'Keeffe said she had relied on the manager's report from South County Dublin's planning department. This had said there was an established use on site and no enforcement proceedings were taking place.

Mr O'Donnell asked if Ms O'Keeffe was aware of the evidence at the hearing from South Dublin County Council that the development was unauthorised.

Ms O'Keeffe replied that she had responded to the submission to An Bord Pleanála which had been made by the council in writing. "There has been a change of position by South Dublin County Council" she said. "The written record as submitted to the board is different to the [oral] evidence to the board."

Irish Times

DCU to create indoor version of Croke Park

DUBLIN CITY University have announced audacious plans to create an indoor version of the Croke Park pitch at their north Dublin sports facility, St Clare's. By replicating the parameters of the GAA's main field, and with a grass surface and transparent roof, the university will be in demand from all intercounty teams seeking to prepare for high summer championship visits to the Jones' Road.

That this venture is fronted by former GAA President Peter Quinn adds serious credence to the venture. Quinn, a brother of Ireland's wealthiest businessman, Seán, and a respected financial advisor in his own right, played an instrumental role in the crucial stages of the redevelopment of Croke Park during his term of office between 1991 and 1994.

Quinn revealed the plans in a speech at the announcement of Bank of Ireland's five-year sponsorship deal with the DCU GAA academy in Dublin yesterday.

The cost for DCU's new state of the art indoor facilities is conservatively estimated at €15 million. A completion date of 2013 and capacity of 10,000 were also tentatively mentioned by Quinn.

"Its primary use will be for testing and training and that sort of thing but matches will be played on it. We would hope to host inter-county challenge matches."

The initial stages of planning have been submitted to Fingal County Council with a hope to begin construction over the next 24 months.

"We would like to think it will be finished in five years but a lot will depend on the planners and our ability to raise the funds," Quinn continued. "We will obviously be looking for some support from the Government. I'm glad we're not going for it this year.

"Indications are fairly positive in relation to planning but until you actually have the green form in your hand and it is signed you can't be sure. In any sort of construction project like this and particularly one in north Dublin at the moment with the Luas (A DCU stop is planed for the new Metro North route, with an unconfirmed completion date also of 2013) and issues like that involved we have to be a little careful about being too specific about when the project is going to start, but the reality is that we are in a position to start raising the funding as soon as we are sure the project is ready to start.

"The funding will be significant. It will be double digit millions but, you know, we will get a project that will definitely be value for money."

DCU Professor for Health and Human performance Niall Moyna was keen to note the technological and self-sufficient advantages of such an indoor arena.

"Hopefully we'll have a backdrop where we can mimic different grounds in the country," said Moyna. "Let's say, if you're taking a free you can actually see Hill 16 and the crowd noise, we can mimic wind patterns, rain. These are some of the visions that we have for this centre. So if an inter-county team wanted to come up and train for the weekend at the end of it they'd get a full review of what each and every player had done.

"In the current economic climate maybe we're going to have to sit back and say well, hold on, we just can't do everything we wanted to do but you have to have that vision, a bold vision to do something that nobody else has done before and bring it to a whole new level."

The Dublin footballers will be working with Moyna on the DCU campus for the 2009 season but Quinn dismissed any potential conflict with the Dublin County Board plans to build their own centre of excellence on the 25-acre site in Rathcoole, which recently received a planning permission green light but must still go through An Bord Pleanála's objection process.

"It will effectively be an indoor stadium with the exception that it has a (transparent) roof and therefore it has a limit to the height the ball can go," Quinn explained. "Clearly, that might not be appropriate for championship football but we would have said 10 years ago that playing under floodlights wasn't appropriate for championship football and now half the county club championships in the country are played under floodlights on Saturday night. The provincial stages of the All-Ireland club championships are played under lights as we saw last Sunday for example.

"So, what was impossible 10 years ago and might be impossible today may not be impossible 10 years from now. We just have to see how the game develops and how the facility will develop.

"Certainly, we will have a facility that will be playable 365 days a year with an extra day in the leap year, and 24 hours a day.

"It will be made available to the local community as well. There are a number of clubs in the area around it but we are thinking more in terms of community, but clubs can use it too."

Irish Times

New plan for Harcourt Terrace Garda station

A SUBSIDIARY of the Durkan Group has submitted a new proposal to redevelop Harcourt Terrace Garda station.

The planning application by Harcourt Terrace Ltd to Dublin City Council is looking to demolish the 1950s Garda station, old film censor's office and other buildings on site, and build a four-storey residential block facing onto Harcourt Terrace. A seven-storey office block with setbacks fronting Charlemont Place is also part of the proposal.

The proposal is smaller in scale than one refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála earlier this year. This time around the developer is asking to build 24 apartments in a four-storey block compared to a more ambitious 43 apartments in two blocks rising to nine storeys last time around.

The office element proposed is 10,413sq m (112,084sq ft) compared to 12,714sq m (136,854sq ft) last time.

In April the board ruled that the apartment buildings would fail to respect their context opposite Regency period buildings and adjoining Victorian houses. It said the blocks would not be of the standard required to justify the removal of the Garda station building on the site while the main office block would be visually obtrusive and impact on adjoining homes in what is a residential conservation area. In 2006, in return for the development rights to the site, Durkan agreed to provide over 400 affordable homes in new housing schemes in west Dublin, which have been handed over and occupied.

Irish Times

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Dump reports to be released

TWO reports on a major toxic dump in Cork harbour are due to be released shortly by the Department of the Environment.

The mayor of Cobh, Cllr John Mulvihill, said he had been informed by sources within the department that the reports would be made public early next week.

However, when the Irish Examiner contacted the Department of the Environment, a spokesman said the reports were being finalised and he hoped they would be released very soon.

He was unable to confirm a publication date.

One of the reports has been compiled by consultants who were brought in last summer to analyse the contents of the dump at Haulbowline, which is believed to have contained some highly carcinogenic material.

The other is a ‘peer review’ of the report carried out by a group of experts in Britain.

Cllr Mulvihill said that consultants White Young Green have finished their report on the site and the peer review process has been completed.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley confirmed at a meeting with public representatives in Cobh last September that he was willing to publish the reports’ findings.

“As mayor of Cobh I am anxious that the public are made fully aware of the reports’ contents. It is also vital that the minister formulates a plan to deal with the clean up of the site,” Cllr Mulvihill said.

“I am conscious that we are currently in a tough economic climate, but the issue of the cost of the clean up can only be secondary to the health of the people of Cobh and the lower harbour.”

Irish Examiner

Tuesday 25 November 2008

New medical centre proposed for Killarney appeal

LOCAL doctors behind a new medical centre proposed for Killarney are appealing against a demand for almost €2 million in development levies.

Killarney Town Council wants GPs to cough up €1.5 million and €400,000 for two new roundabouts which lead to the medical centre in the grounds of St Finan’s Hospital.

But the GPs argue the levies are excessive and have lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála.

They are also appealing against the council’s decision not to allow a pharmacy and retail outlets for health food and medical aid and equipment in the facility, described as a primary care centre.

Several Killarney GP practices, in conjunction with the Health Service Executive (HSE), aim to develop the one-stop-shop, health facility on the site.

It would include services for hospital outpatients, an x-ray service, a base for GP surgeries and a primary care team.

Meanwhile, a group in Kenmare which has, for 30 years, been seeking an extension to the local community hospital have attacked an HSE plan to build a new hospital instead.

The HSE’s preferred option is to go ahead with a new hospital on the existing site as part of its 2009 to 2013 plans.

According to the HSE, its decision is based on architectural advice that a new hospital was the best option.

However, a spokesperson for the Friends of Kenmare Hospital claimed this was a delaying tactic.

She said all they were campaigning for was a 14-bed extension to the existing hospital and had never sought a new hospital.

The group plans to hold a public meeting, in Kenmare, on the issue, next month.

Irish Examiner

Limerick retail development project granted

A HUGE city centre retail development has been given the go-ahead in Limerick. However, a sole objector may hold up the project indefinitely.

Limerick City Council has granted planning permission for the ambitious project. Up to 600 jobs will be created in the €40 million project.

The five-storey commercial building will have 55,000 sq ft of offices and 5,000 sq ft of ground floor retail units.

The site is framed by Catherine Street, Glentworth Street and Mallow Street and the development will provide 110 basement car parking spaces.

The project is being undertaken by the Catherine Street Partnership, a business consortium.

The development area, which includes the former printing works’ site of the Limerick Leader newspaper is adjacent to O’Connell Street.

Zoned commercial, the site forms part of the city area identified by Limerick City Council for conservation and re-generation.

A spokesman said: “Portion of the site has been derelict for many years and is periodically a focus for anti-social behaviour.

“In particular, there will be a broad public welcome for the proposal to completely renovate the intimidating and unwelcoming laneway connecting Catherine Street and Glentworth, with proper street lighting and safe and attractive surface treatment,” the spokesman added.

The project has been well received by local businesses and residents who will see it as creating critical mass of commercial and amenity infrastructure in an area which is earmarked for significant investment by Limerick City Council.

The building design is by award winning architects, Murray O Laoire.

Any appeal to An Bord Pleanála could lead to a major overhaul of the scheme.

Irish Examiner

Limerick retail development project granted

A HUGE city centre retail development has been given the go-ahead in Limerick. However, a sole objector may hold up the project indefinitely.

Limerick City Council has granted planning permission for the ambitious project. Up to 600 jobs will be created in the €40 million project.

The five-storey commercial building will have 55,000 sq ft of offices and 5,000 sq ft of ground floor retail units.

The site is framed by Catherine Street, Glentworth Street and Mallow Street and the development will provide 110 basement car parking spaces.

The project is being undertaken by the Catherine Street Partnership, a business consortium.

The development area, which includes the former printing works’ site of the Limerick Leader newspaper is adjacent to O’Connell Street.

Zoned commercial, the site forms part of the city area identified by Limerick City Council for conservation and re-generation.

A spokesman said: “Portion of the site has been derelict for many years and is periodically a focus for anti-social behaviour.

“In particular, there will be a broad public welcome for the proposal to completely renovate the intimidating and unwelcoming laneway connecting Catherine Street and Glentworth, with proper street lighting and safe and attractive surface treatment,” the spokesman added.

The project has been well received by local businesses and residents who will see it as creating critical mass of commercial and amenity infrastructure in an area which is earmarked for significant investment by Limerick City Council.

The building design is by award winning architects, Murray O Laoire.

Any appeal to An Bord Pleanála could lead to a major overhaul of the scheme.

Irish Examiner

Concern over regeneration money

MEMBERS of Limerick City Council who yesterday backed the €1.7 million regeneration programme for run-down parts of the city have called on the Government to publicly declare the necessary funding will be forthcoming.

The master plans for the regeneration of Southill, Ballinacurra Weston, Southill and St Mary’s Park which were presented to the council on October 27 were yesterday supported by the council at a special meeting.

However, some members voiced concern— due to the economic downturn— the necessary funding may not be made available when thousands of new houses need to be build.

Cllr Diarmuid Scully said answers need to be forthcoming from the Taoiseach and the government.

Cllr Kevin Kiely who is chairman of the city’s joint policing authority voiced concern the city council did not seem to be pursuing exclusion orders of council tenants engaged in drugs and feud crime in these estates.

The regeneration agency has told the council that it will not need significant amounts of money from the government for another year as major planning matters will have to be processed in the meantime.

The agency has come under fire from Limerick State solicitor, Michael Murray for holding meetings with known members of feuding gangs. He said such meetings gave criminals a status they did not deserve.

Irish Examiner

Glanmire to get €6m upgrade for key road

CORK County Council is planning a significant road upgrade that will allow more than 1,200 homes to be built and provide a link to a new park-and-ride railway station.

Inferior roads in Glanmire were the main reason An Bord Pleanála quoted for refusing plans by O’Flynn Construction for a major housing development in the area.

However, those developments could be back on track as the local authority is to spend €6 million upgrading the road between the AIB bank in Glanmire and the former Ibis Hotel.

O’Flynn Construction wants to build 1,210 houses, offices and retail units at Ballinglanna and Dunkettle, adjacent to that existing road.

Council engineers say they hope to put the project out to tender in the next 12 months and have construction completed within a year of commencement.

Engineers are preparing to draw up detailed designs, and a number of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) will be needed for the project to proceed.

“Several small parcels of land will be required for road widening. It will be necessary to acquire and demolish two dwellings as well,” a county council spokesman said.

The local authority proposes to widen the 2km stretch of road, providing footpaths and cycle lanes on both sides of the road.

This will be done to make it easier for commuters to travel to and from the proposed railway station at Dunkettle. A new pedestrian bridge will also be built adjacent to the existing stone road bridge over the River Glashaboy, near the AIB bank.

However, it wasn’t all smiles when engineers released their report at a council meeting yesterday.

Glanmire-based Cllr John Gilroy (Lab) said he didn’t mind further housing development, but he said it shouldn’t take place without an overall traffic plan being implemented.

Cllr Gilroy said the old bridge in Glanmire village couldn’t facilitate the increase in traffic the O’Flynn Construction projects would generate.

“I can’t accept these proposals are in line with sustainable development. I understand an overall traffic management study is to be done in Glanmire next year. This should be put back until then,” Cllr Gilroy said.

Cllr Tomás Ryan (FG) agreed and said Glanmire was being squeezed with traffic as it was, without overloading the bridge.

County manager Martin Riordan said he was anxious to proceed. “We want to encourage people to use rail for transport. We should look at the benefit rail will have for Glanmire,” he said.

“We need the traffic study first. If Bord Pleanála hadn’t made a ruling against O’Flynn Construction this wouldn’t have been on the council’s agenda at all,” Cllr Gilroy replied.

“What builder is going to start building houses now when he won’t be able to sell for another five or six years. Let’s take our time and do it right,” said Cllr Gilroy.

Irish Examiner

Plans and CPOs for Cork-Ringaskiddy link to be submitted by new year

DETAILED plans and Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) for a multi-million-euro road from Cork to Ringaskiddy are to be submitted to the board of the National Roads Authority (NRA) early next year.

Concern had been raised that the road project was sidelined after Bord Pleanála’s refusal to allow the Port of Cork authority relocate to a new terminal in Ringaskiddy.

The proposed move was one of the key factors in Cork County Council plans for building the new road.

Cllr Tim Lombard (FG) said there had been significant doubt in Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy that the project would ever go ahead after the planning appeals board’s decision.

He said the current N28 was at capacity and serving a major industrial area.

“Eight of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world are based in Ringaskiddy. We need a good road to serve the area if it is to grow even more,” Cllr Lombard said.

Cllr John A Collins (FG) said he was concerned the project would never be built due to the necessity to compete projects elsewhere and the downturn in the economy.

“It was recognised even when the Port of Cork proposed to build a deep water terminal in Ringaskiddy that the road was at capacity. The area is an economic driver for the region,” Cllr Collins said.

Acting county engineer Noel O’Keeffe said he hoped to have draft CPOs and design plans ready for the beginning of January. He said the documents would be submitted to the board of the National Roads Authority early in the new year. Mr O’Keeffe said he hoped to be ready to start construction quickly if funding becomes available.

Cllr Lombard said he hoped the NRA would sanction the scheme. “Rest assured I’ll be pushing that scheme as much as I can,” Mr O’Keeffe told councillors at a meeting in County Hall yesterday.

Cllr Collins added that councillor should be lobbying Cork’s two ministers, Micheál Martin and Batt O’Keeffe, in order to get the necessary funding.

Irish Examiner

Plans for Kerry waste facility running into opposition

PLANS to build a new waste facility on a 12-acre site along the main Tralee/Killarney road are running into opposition.

Kerry Central Recycling Facility Ltd has lodged a planning application with Kerry County Council in respect of the site at Scart/Caherdean, about 3km on the Killarney side of Farranfore village.

Local residents last night attended an information meeting on the proposal.

Independent councillor Brendan Cronin, who represents the area, has already lodged an objection to the application. “I believe this site is totally unsuitable for any kind of waste facility,” he said.

Mr Cronin said the site was on the N22 national primary road and extra vehicle movement generated by its development would create a serious traffic hazard. “The site is just not right for many reasons. For instance, there are private houses within 80m and residential property in the wider area would be totally devalued.”

Pointing out that Kerry Airport was close to the site, he also claimed there would be aviation risk issues as birds were drawn to waste facilities.

Already, there have been extensive pre-planning discussions between the developers and council officials in relation to the site.

Planning is being sought for a materials recovery building, an office building and a public recycling centre. An application for a waste licence is being made to the Environment Protection Agency.

Consulting engineers Paudie O’Mahony and Associates, of Killarney, have already made a submission to the council seeking the rezoning of a site, midway between Tralee, Killarney and Castleisland, for modern waste recycling facilities.

In a submission to the draft county development plan 2009-2015, they said the site would be most suitable for the purpose, adding they had “positive responses” from meetings with council officials.

However, the council has recommended that there be no changing to the zoning in the area.

Irish Examiner

Cork harbour residents may escape costs

ANTI-INCINERATION campaigners have welcomed a decision by Minister for the Environment John Gormley to ask the Supreme Court to formally revoke a costs order awarded to the State two weeks ago against Cork harbour residents.

A spokeswoman for Cork Harbour Area for a Safe Environment (Chase) said she was "delighted and proud" that the State, along with Mr Gormley and his department, saw fit not to enforce the costs order.

Chase noted that incineration company Indaver had declined to follow suit.

It has also emerged that High Court cases against An Bord Pleanála, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State and the Attorney General have been withdrawn on the agreement of all parties.

The request was made by the residents on the basis that planning for the Ringaskiddy incinerator expired in January 2009 and at that stage there would be no justification in proceeding with the court cases.

All parties except An Bord Pleanála have agreed to bear their own High Court costs.

An Bord Pleanála has made a formal request for a costs order, which was opposed by the residents and which will be heard by the court next Monday.

A spokeswoman for Chase said it was an important day for community participation.

"We are delighted and proud. By the time Indaver's planning expires in January 2009, we expect to be fighting new fast-track proposals for 100,000-tonne hazardous and 140,000-tonne municipal waste incinerators."

On November 11th, the Supreme Court ordered the Ringaskiddy and District Residents Association and a number of individuals to pay the legal costs of their unsuccessful attempts to further adjourn two legal challenges to the proposed €75 million development of the State's first hazardous waste incinerator at Ringaskiddy.

The residents had sought the adjournments pending the outcome of a legal action against Ireland in the European Court of Justice by the European Commission.

The action is based on the commission's formal view that Ireland has failed to properly transpose into Irish law an EC directive relating to the environmental impact assessment of public and private projects, including incinerators.

Labour TD for Cork South Central and party spokesman on local government Ciarán Lynch also welcomed the decision by the State not to pursue costs, saying "it would seem that common sense" had prevailed.

"The motivations of the Chase campaign group have always been to act in the public interest and they took this case for the important purpose of clarifying the law and ensuring proper planning," Mr Lynch said.

"It is important that the concept and the principle of the participation by community groups in public debate and public campaigns be upheld, because otherwise the planning process is in danger of becoming little more than a charter for the rich and powerful."

Irish Times

Sunday 23 November 2008

The Grange to open its doors to Part V owners

WHEN they first came on the market in 2005, apartments at the Grange in the fashionable south Dublin suburb of Stillorgan offered location, luxury and lifestyle to rival anything found in Paris or New York.

Boasting a 24-hour concierge service to take care of matters such as dry cleaning, ironing, or ordering a taxi, the Grange promised an exotic lifestyle for residents of the development near Stillorgan in south Dublin. With prices for one-bed apartments starting at €435,000 and €575,000 for two-bedroom units, the mortgage payments alone were enough to put paid to the dreams of many.

Three years on, some of those who once had their noses pressed against the polished windows are daring to dream again.

But in the cruelest of ironies for those who secured an expensive foothold at the Grange at the height of the boom, it is the fallout from the bust that will let their new -- and poorer -- neighbours in.

Having failed in their legal challenge to prevent the imposition of Part V of the 2000 Planning Act which insists that 20 per cent of any development must be devoted to social and affordable housing, the Grange's developer, Glenkerrin Homes, have agreed to sell 75 apartments to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council at a massive discount. The Sunday Independent understands 38 of these units will be placed on the market by the developer under the terms of the Affordable Housing scheme with prices ranging between €213,755 and €305,000 depending on the size of the apartment. All apartments will come with one parking space included in the price.

While the cut-price apartment offer may well upset those Grange residents who paid through the nose for their homes they will at least console themselves with the knowledge that their prospective neighbours are contributing to the economy, as mortgages will have to be taken out on these units. Under the terms of the scheme, anyone earning up to €58,000 as a single person is entitled to apply. For couples submitting a joint application, the income limit is €75,000.

The Council's plans for the 37 other units it intends to purchase at the exclusive development will be reserved for social housing . According to a spokesperson for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, these units will be used "for the purpose of providing rental accommodation to persons on the council's social housing list". The Sunday Independent understands that a number of residents -- many of whom paid in excess of €620,000 for their homes in 2006 have contacted Glenkerrin Homes to express their anger at the news of the impending arrival of social and affordable housing.

Asked by the Sunday Independent for its response to the concerns of the Grange residents, a spokesperson for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said: "This agreement is one of many entered into by the council to date, which will provide in excess of 1100 much needed social/affordable homes within residential developments throughout the County which have a Part V requirement."

Sunday Independent

NRA plans truck stops

Plans by the NRA to build major truck stops around the country have left locals deeply concerned about the effect it will have on homes and communities.

THE National Roads Authority (NRA) has come under fire over plans to introduce a series of major truck stop sites on Ireland's main transport arteries that will bypass general planning laws. The truck stops, or service areas (SAs), will incorporate substantial parking and restaurant facilities, showers, toilets, picnic areas and refuelling services, all on sites of around 30 to 40 acres.

Residents in the immediate vicinity of the sites feel they have been left with little right to reply, outside of submitting observations to the planning appeals authority An Bord Pleanála, which must give its final sanction.

Those residing near a proposed SA north of Gorey, Co Wexford say they fear a rise in criminal and anti-social behaviour and have been told the value of their homes could fall by as much as 75%.

So far, just one of a dozen planned SA projects – on the M4 west of Enfield, Co Meath – has been given the go-ahead.

Because the SAs qualify under Strategic Infrastructure legislation, the plans are being submitted directly to An Bord Pleanála – without having to be given the green light by local authority planning departments.

Proposals have been received by An Bord Pleanála for construction of sites on the M1 at Lusk and south of Dundalk, on the N6 at Rathmorrissey, Galway and on the N11 at Gorey. All these are expected in 2010 or early 2011. Plans are at a less developed stage for sites on the M7 at Mountrath, the N6 at Athlone, the N8 at Kilworth, Co Cork and Cashel, the N9 at Kilcullen and Kilkenny, and the N7 at Nenagh.

However, while there have been calls for such facilities in the past, the NRA is coming under fire from residents near Gorey who believe their quiet, rural community is under considerable threat from the proposals.

Three years ago, Naomi Seale (31) from Arklow began building her dream home with boyfriend Roy Dempsey (30) in the idyllic rural setting of Ballyellen. Then they were told that a truck stop was being built just 37 metres from their back garden.

"We are devastated. We battled to get a mortgage so now we are saddled with that and a house we won't be able to sell in a place we won't be able to live because of this animal of a development," said Seale.

"The valuers we hired told us that we would lose 75% of the value of our house so we are paying a mortgage on something that has the value of a caravan. The NRA told us there will be no impact on my house. How can they say that?"

Of the four SA plans currently before An Bord Pleanála, all have attracted local objections. Both M1 proposals have received approximately 10 objections each while the Rathmorrissey proposal in Galway has attracted around 35.

Objections to the Wexford plan were due to be filed by the deadline last Friday. For its part, the NRA has insisted that such public infrastructure projects always attract a degree of local opposition and that it has surpassed its statutory duties by agreeing to meet with communities to address concerns. But not everyone believes the NRA has done all it can do.

The Ballyellen Acton Group's Fran Seale – father of Naomi – explained that they had a number of concerns surrounding the SAs. "We oppose this on several fronts. We would question the information put forward in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on sound pollution, light spill, noise pollution and waste disposal," he said.

"We would also ask whether Wexford County Council is in a position to supply mains water to this development when we often lose water and water pressure a few times over the summer months. We are talking in excess of 30 acres; we have not seen anything on this scale in Ireland before. We have obviously upset someone among the powers-that-be."

The residents of Ballyellen are now hoping they will be granted an oral hearing to voice their concerns, a decision at the discretion of An Bord Pleanála alone.

The NRA still feels it is doing what it can to appease concerns. "We feel it is important to have these information sessions with the community at large, even though that is not within the Strategic Infrastructure guidelines," said a spokesman.

"We are concerned about the public outcry at having an SA in this location but that is for An Bord Pleanála to decide. At the same time you have to take into account that any time you are doing these developments it is going to affect someone."

The NRA spokesman said that a previous proposal to develop service areas and rest stops separately was dismissed due to concerns over anti-social behaviour and crime thriving in rest areas, which had been the case in other countries.

Not all of the proposed SAs are expected to attract massive objections; the recent decision to grant permission to one in Enfield, Co Meath didn't raise an eyebrow, according to Fine Gael councillor William Carey.

But in other areas – and with two more possible SA sites yet to be identified, which could bring the total to 14 – the storm has not even arrived.

"It's not really public knowledge down here yet and it hasn't really hit people yet," said Tipperary councillor Martin Browne of the proposed SA in Cashel. "But from what I am told, it will be open season on it very soon."

Sunday Tribune

DDDA faces €2.5m bill in planning cases

The Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) faces a legal bill of about €2.5m after losing a court case about its planning powers.

Seán Dunne's North Wall Property Holding Company won a court case against the DDDA when Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan ruled that the authority acted outside its powers in approving a development by Liam Carroll's company, North Quay Investments.

Legal sources said Dunne's legal bill will be over €1m and the DDDA will likely have to pay those costs.

Spencer Dock Development Company took a similar case which was settled, with the DDDA agreeing to pay SDCC's legal costs. Those are expected to be close to €1m, experts said.

The authority will also have to pay its own costs in both cases, meaning a bill of about €2.5m is possible.

Sunday Tribune

Quinlan to ‘amalgamate’ houses worth €27m

Financier Derek Quinlan has applied for planning permission to ‘‘amalgamate’’ two houses on Shrewsbury Road in Dublin that he bought for €27 million.

Quinlan had originally planned to demolish number 1 and number 3 Shrewsbury Road and build a new home, but now plans to turn the existing houses into a single seven-bedroom house over four levels.

He is seeking to demolish part of the rear of number 1 and two sheds on the site and amalgamate the ‘‘remaining structural elements’’ of number 1 and number 3.

Quinlan’s plan for the houses that he bought in 2006 involves an extension to the front, rear and sides of the enlarged house, the construction of a basement and ‘‘reorganisation of internal accommodation’’.

The entrance at number 1 would be closed off, leaving all access at number 3 to ‘‘serve the amalgamated single family residential unit’’, according to his planning application. Quinlan currently lives at number 6 Shrewsbury Road.

He heads Quinlan Private, which manages assets worth about €11 billion and owns properties worldwide. The investment firm recently made a number of staff cuts because of the global downturn.

Shrewsbury Road has been the scene of several planning disputes. Telecoms entrepreneur Denis O’Brien and businessman Niall O’Farrell have had plans for the road denied, while residents have consistently objected to the redevelopment of the former Chester Beatty library.

Described by residents as ‘‘the premier showcase roadway in the city of Dublin’’, it is home to Walford, which was sold in 2005 for €58 million, making it the most expensive house in Ireland.

The offices of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland are on the market for €25 million, but the sale has been delayed for legal reasons.

Sunday Business Post

Saturday 22 November 2008

Haulbowline toxic clean-up costs taxpayer €42m

TAXPAYERS forked out more than €42 million on the controversial Haulbowline clean-up operation when toxic waste was buried instead of removed.

The hazardous waste, which was covered up during the costly operation at the start of the year, is likely to cost the State up to €300m to dispose of.

The clean-up operation was suspended in June, when the Irish Examiner revealed that the sub-contractors carrying out the work were told by the Department of the Environment to “cap” the lagoons containing the toxic material at the former Irish Steel plant, rather than remove it.

Figures from the department show that the work cost €42m. “Further costs of approximately €1.1m will arise in 2008 in respect of ongoing management of the site, including in regard to site staff, security, utilities and small trade and service contracts,” said Environment Minister John Gormley in a written response to a Dáil question.

The Government spent a further €300,000 on independent consultants or experts to carry out investigations on the site to determine what risk it posed to human health.

“This comprises costs associated with sampling, analysis, topographical and foreshore ecological surveys, project management and professional fees for the three distinct modules of work, ie air, marine and site investigation and assessment,” said Mr Gormley.

“It is anticipated that an additional amount of approximately €50,000 will be expended, including the costs associated with a peer review, by the time all the current investigations and reports are finalised,” he added.

A report being carried out for the department on the toxic threat of the site is now three months overdue.

Fine Gael Cork East TD, David Stanton, who tabled the Dáil question, said the cost is particularly worrying because the minister has still not made any plans for the future use of the site.

“I am very concerned about what is going on in Haulbowline.

“The cost of site investigations and clean-up costs have been massive but still no decision has been taken on the preferred use of the site and necessary future works,” he said.

“In 2004, the minister estimated that surveys and remediation of the Irish ISPAT site would cost approximately €30m. Expenditure has now far surpassed that.

“To make matters worse the minister has advised that he cannot quantify future costs without determining the future use of the site.

“He should make public his intentions for the site immediately,” said Mr Stanton.

Following the publication of the Haulbowline report, Mr Gormley will bring proposals to the cabinet on what should be done with the site.

It is expected it will be cleaned up, at an estimated cost of €300m, and used as a public amenity.

Irish Examiner

Frank Dunlop: the charges he faces

1. That on June 11th, 1992, at his office, he corruptly gave £1,000 to councillor Seán Gilbride of Fianna Fáil as an inducement to secure his vote in favour of a motion before Dublin City Council to rezone 108 acres of land for industrial use at Carrickmines, in the county development plan.

2. That between June 12th, 1992, and June 29th, 1992, at Conway's pub on Parnell Street, he corruptly gave £1,000 to councillor Jack Larkin of Fianna Fáil (now deceased) to secure his vote in favour of a motion to rezone 108 acres at Carrickmines.

3. That on a date between June 12th, 1992, and June 29th, 1992, in Dublin, he corruptly gave £1,000 to councillor Cyril Gallagher of Fianna Fáil (now deceased) to secure his vote to rezone 108 acres at Carrickmines.

4. That on May 4th, 1992, in the reception area of Dublin City Council, he corruptly gave £3,000 to councillor Tom Hand of Fine Gael (now deceased) to secure his vote to rezone 108 acres at Carrickmines.

5. That on May 4th, 1992, at St John of God's in Dublin, he corruptly gave £3,000 to councillor Don Lydon of Fianna Fáil to secure his vote to rezone 108 acres at Carrickmines.

6. That on a date unknown, between Dublin City Council's office and Conway's pub, he corruptly gave £2,000 to councillor Tony Fox of Fianna Fáil to secure his vote to rezone 108 acres at Carrickmines.

7. That on a date unknown between June 12th, 1992, and June 29th, 1992, he corruptly gave £2,000 to Fianna Fáil councillor Colm McGrath at Mr McGrath's office in Clondalkin, in order to secure his vote to rezone 108 acres at Carrickmines.

8. That on a date unknown between June 12th, 1992, and June 29th, 1992, in Dublin, he corruptly gave £2,000 to councillor Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael to secure his vote to rezone 108 acres of land at Carrickmines.

9. That on October 30th, 1997, at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin, he corruptly gave a sum of money to councillor Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael to vote in favour of a motion that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council rezone about 36.85 acres of land at Carrickmines for industrial use in the county development plan.

10. That on October 30th, 1997, at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin, he corruptly gave a sum of money to Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael to secure his vote in favour of a motion to rezone about 88 acres of land at Carrickmines for industrial use.

11. That on December 23rd, 1997, at Buswells Hotel in Dublin, he corruptly gave a sum of money to Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael to secure his vote in favour of a motion to rezone 36.85 acres of land at Carrickmines as industrial in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown development plan.

12. That on December 23rd, 1997, at Buswells Hotel in Dublin, he corruptly gave a sum of money to Liam Cosgrave of Fine Gael to secure his vote in favour of rezoning 88 acres of land at Carrickmines.

13. That on October 30th, 1997, at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin, he corruptly gave a sum of money to councillor Tony Fox of Fianna Fáil to secure his vote in favour of rezoning 36.85 acres of land at Carrickmines.

14. That on October 30th, 1997, at the Davenport Hotel, he corruptly gave money to Tony Fox of Fianna Fáil to secure his vote in favour of rezoning 88 acres at Carrickmines.

15. That on a date unknown between October 30th, 1997, and December 25th, 1997, at the Davenport Hotel, he corruptly gave a sum of money to Tony Fox of Fianna Fáil to secure his vote in favour of rezoning 36.85 acres of land at Carrickmines.

16. That on a date unknown between October 30th and December 25th, 1997, at the Davenport Hotel, he corruptly gave a sum of money to Tony Fox to secure his vote to rezone 88 acres at Carrickmines.

The Irish Times

State loses EU battle over planning

IRELAND HAS lost a legal battle against the European Commission for failing to screen small-scale farm projects for possible environmental impact assessments.

In a ruling handed down on Thursday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said that the Government had not brought fully into Irish law a 1985 directive requiring it to examine the ecological effects of agricultural schemes before granting planning permission for them.

Minister for the Environment John Gormley accepted the court's decision and said his department would "closely examine" the detailed judgment before giving a legislative response.

The case dates back to 2001, when the EC sent a letter of formal notice to the Government relating to a trial salmon farm on the Kenmare estuary in Co Kerry.

Court action followed in 2003, and the case came to the European Court of Justice three years later.

Under EU rules, member states are allowed to set thresholds under which certain projects can be exempted from mandatory impact assessments, but only if those projects do not have a negative effect on the environment.

In order to assess whether a development would have such an effect, planning authorities must look at certain conditions set out in the EU's directive, including the nature, location and cumulative environmental impact of the planned development.

The commission's case rested on the fact that, in allowing planning authorities to decide whether projects under a certain size required impact assessments, Ireland failed to fully take into account the individual merits of each development based on these conditions. A spokesperson for EU environment chief Stavros Dimas said that the commission welcomes the decision and "looks forward to working constructively with the Irish authorities to ensure that important ecological sites will be better protected in future".

Ireland has been ordered to pay the costs incurred by the commission during the proceedings. Poland, which intervened to support Ireland's case last year, has been told to pay its own costs.

In a separate preliminary ruling also handed down on Thursday, the European Court of Justice found that an Irish Beef Industry Development Society scheme, where some beef processors undertook to leave the processing industry, amounts to a restriction of competition in the industry.

The Irish Times

Dublin water proposals to be released today

PROPOSALS TO pump water from the Shannon river's lakes to Dublin to serve the city's water needs will be released for public consultation by Dublin City Council today.

The public will be invited to make submissions in relation to 10 options the council has put forward to prevent Dublin from running out of water. The current water supplies will not be sufficient to serve the city beyond 2016.

Of these 10 options, seven involve taking the equivalent of hundreds of millions of litres of water from the Shannon to serve Dublin every day.

The council said it would not select a preferred option until after the public consultation process - which ends on February 27th - was completed and the various submissions assessed.

However, the documentation being released for public consultation evaluates each option and either discounts or gives a negative weighting to the three non-Shannon-related options.

The most positive rating is given to the option which involves piping water from Lough Derg to a disused Bord na Móna bog in the midlands, where it would be stored in the form of an artificial lake, for use as required by the Dublin region and parts of the midlands.

The three options which do not involve the Shannon and its lakes are desalination, the use of ground-water supplies in the Fingal-Kildare areas, and the use of water from the upper river Liffey in conjunction with water from the river Barrow.

The council has effectively dismissed the latter two options, stating that they "cannot provide required quantities of water". Desalination is technically feasible, the council said, but has been ranked as one of the least positive options.

From the point of view of the technical process, desalination is ranked as a negative option.

In environmental terms it is ranked as negative to neutral; in socio-economic terms it is ranked as negative, and in economic terms it is ranked as very negative.

The Lough Derg and bog storage option has no negative effects, according to the council's assessment.

Two bogs have been identified as suitable for storage - one near Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath, and the other near Portarlington, Co Laois. The artificial lakes could be used to create "midlands environmental parks", which would generate tourism for the surrounding areas.

The other Shannon options involve taking water from Lough Ree, Lough Derg and the Parteen Basin, with combinations of bog storage, "impoundment" - water storage at a location in the Wicklow mountains, or direct pumping to Dublin.

The greater Dublin region currently uses about 560 million litres per day; by 2016 this will have risen to 630 million litres and by 2031 it will have a demand for 800 million litres. However, in order to ensure continuity of supply the council said it needs an extra 300 million litres in addition to what is provided by its existing water sources.

Executive manager with the council Tom Leahy said the city cannot be allowed to run out of water. "We have a looming situation in 2016. Currently the supply- demand balance is on a knife edge."

The council is likely to receive large numbers of negative submissions, particularly from Shannon area politicians, environmental bodies and community groups.

The Irish Times

Friday 21 November 2008

Tesco's Portarlington plans rejected

PLANS BY Tesco to develop a new foodstore and off-licence along the floodplain of the River Barrow in Portarlington, Co Laoise, have been blocked by An Bord Pleanála.

Laois County Council had approved the plans despite the planning application acknowledging that the site was part of the floodplain. Tesco sought permission for 3,281sq m (35,316sq ft) plus an off-licence. It proposed flood relief works and access to a riverside walkway.

The board said it was not satisfied that the flood relief works would not have significant adverse effects on both the natural heritage of the area and the future use of the river and adjoining lands, including the loss of part of the floodplain and the associated risk of increased flooding of other lands in the vicinity. Tesco proposed to collect surface water on site and dispose of it into the river by a controlled pumping system.

During the hearing, Laois County Council admitted having granted outline permission for 36 homes on the same site. That permission has since expired.

Several parties appealing against the development argued that the location of the store would be in the most obtrusive and imposing position possible, that the building would detract from the visual amenity of the area and would have an adverse visual impact on the River Barrow.

The board inspector said he agreed that the supermarket at this location would have a significant detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the area.

Irish Times

Rathcoole anti-incinerator group to seek costs from firm

A GROUP opposed to the building of an incinerator at Rathcoole in west Dublin is to seek to have its costs paid by the company proposing the development, Energy Answers International.

Rathcoole Against Incineration Dioxins (Raid) is giving evidence at a Bord Pleanála hearing on the proposed €200 million incinerator, energy recovery facility and concrete plant.

Raid said it would lodge a claim for about €55,000 with inquiry inspector Michael Dillon before the close of the inquiry, expected in early December.

Under legislation governing strategic infrastructure applications Bord Pleanála may direct the applicant to pay all or some of the costs of other parties.

Outlining its case yesterday, Raid called a range of expert witnesses including lawyers, planning and transport specialists, biologists, a biochemist and representatives of the bloodstock industry.

Spokesman Liam McDermott said Raid believed it was correct that its costs should be borne by Energy Answers. "If they put us to such trouble and expense it should be [they] who pay for it," he said.

Horse breeder and broadcaster Ted Walsh said "incinerators are bad neighbours" and that putting one in Rathcoole would be putting substantial bloodstock interests in Co Kildare at risk.

Consultant ecologist Mieke Muyllaert said the site was "of greater biodiversity significance than suggested by the environmental impact statement".

Transportation expert Christy O'Sullivan said there were significant dangers posed for traffic on the N7; during the construction of the plant, there would be 500 vehicle movements on the road per day, and 428 during its operation. Dangers were also likely to arise at the junction of the slip-road from the plant.

Biochemist Deborah McDermott was incredulous that the applicant had claimed the boiler ash did not qualify as hazardous waste. "As there is no toxic landfill in the Republic of Ireland one must ask . . . where will this toxic waste go?" she said. Rónán Mac Diarmada, an agricultural scientist, said the drawings in the application were flawed. "The landscape drawing is unsatisfactory in terms of detail and accuracy. The site boundary does not correlate with other consultants' drawings. The site layout does not show levels and does not correspond to engineers' drawings."

Irish Times

Thursday 20 November 2008

Balbriggan plan appealed

MOYLARAGH ROAD Residents has appealed a scheme of over 1,000 homes beside their estate in Balbriggan, Co Dublin. They say it is causing them serious concern due to the high density planned for the site and that the large number of apartments will result in "wholesale rental accommodation" which will lead to a transient population and anti-social behaviour. The residents are "at a loss to understand" how Fingal County Council can justify its decision to grant permission for the scheme.

Irish Times

Sandymount scheme approved

DEVELOPER BRYAN Cullen's plan for an office and medical complex in Sandymount has been approved by Dublin City Council despite 11 objections. After previous attempts to build an upmarket apartment scheme on the site, once occupied by Cerebral Palsy Ireland and a garden centre, Cullen opted for an office scheme of 33 own door units, two consultants rooms and 31 offices in five blocks.

In February 2007 An Bord Pleanála refused permission for 40 apartments and four townhouses on the 0.37-hectare site with frontage onto Sandymount Avenue and close to the Dart station.

Irish Times

Hilton Hotel extension and office scheme in Dublin 2 appealed

PERMISSION GRANTED to a trio of high profile developers to redevelop the 1960s office block, McConnell House, and to add a seven-storey extension to the Hilton Hotel, both on Charlemont Place, Dublin 2, have been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.

Bernard McNamara, Jeremiah O'Reilly and Eamon Sheilds were granted planning permission by Dublin City Council to demolish McConnell House, a five-storey office building previously occupied by McConnell Advertising, and build an eight-storey office building in its place.

They also got the go-ahead for an extension to the rear of the Hilton Hotel comprising a conference centre, 34 hotel bedrooms, five meeting rooms, bars, lounges and a health club, increasing the total gross floor area of the hotel to 17,914sq m (192,825sq ft) and the number of bedrooms to 245.

But, in its appeal to An Bord Pleanála, the residents of Harcourt Green apartments beside the proposed hotel extension say its lack of accessibility in terms of public transport "calls into question the desirability of the 5,500sq m conference centre element of the proposal". The residents also say that, although it is on a Luas line, the hotel doesn't have direct links with mainline rail stations or to the airport and won't until completion of the Transport 21 plan for greater Dublin which is scheduled to provide a Luas/metro link to north Dublin in 2013 and a rail interconnector to the mainline rail system by 2015.

The residents say the development will have a negative impact on surrounding established residential areas including Harcourt Terrace, Peter Place, and their own Harcourt Green apartment complex of 169 apartments.

In his appeal, Tadgh Campion with an address at Charlemont Place, says irrespective of the merits of the hotel and conference element, the proposed offices represent "a functionally separate component and a speculative site maximising approach that does not have due regard to its context and location".

Among his grounds for appealing the development is that it will overshadow his property and represent a substantial increase in the bulk of development beside his property.

Irish Times

59 apartments for Redcourt House site in Clontarf

DEVELOPER MARK Piggott is looking to demolish the fire damaged Redcourt House in Clontarf, Dublin 3 to make way for apartments, despite a previous planning permission to convert it into apartments.

The Victorian property hit the headlines last year when the burned remains of a man were found after a fire.

In January this year An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission to convert the 19th century house on Seafield Road East into four apartments as part of a new homes development.

A five-storey apartment block with 33 apartments and nine townhouses were also part of his proposal.

However, he is now looking to knock what is referred to in the planning application as a "fire gutted and derelict" house and build a new house containing five apartments. He is also proposing another five-storey building which would contain 54 apartments and basement parking for 89 cars. The property was the home of the Hardy family for several generations and was sold to developer Mark Piggott in 2004 for €7.5 million, €3.3 million over the guide price.

Redcourt House hit the headlines in August when a 38-year-old man (believed to have been in the house before the fire broke out) presented himself at Raheny Garda station as the fire was still raging.

The fire was brought under control by five units of the fire brigade and the remains of a man were found.

The house on 1.65 acres has been at the centre of a protracted planning dispute in recent years.

An original proposal to demolish the house and build 54 apartments was rejected by both Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála.

Although the developer succeeded in stopping the house being listed as a protected structure, An Bord Pleanála said it was an "intrinsic element" of the site.

Irish Times

Dublin aims to be most accessible city for disabled

DUBLIN IS aiming to become the most accessible city in the world for people with disabilities, the elderly and parents of young children.

Dublin City Council and the National Disability Authority (NDA) are to discuss plans at a conference today which they say will make the city the most accessible internationally by the end of the decade.

The council, the NDA and the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design will discuss the issue not only in terms of improving infrastructure such as roads, footpaths and buildings but through the use of technology.

Speaking before the conference, Peter Finnegan, director of the council's office of international relations and research, said Dublin was leading the way internationally in terms of using technology to improve accessibility.

"Earlier this year, we launched our Access Dublin website and we have already audited 1,000 businesses which provide accessible services, and we will audit another 1,000 next year."

The website,, carries details of premises and services in Dublin which are accessible, and invites feedback from users, enabling local people and tourists to choose businesses they know they will be able to use easily.

The council was also investigating the use of talking information and map units that use touchscreen technology and carry no written information.

The issue of accessibility does not just concern wheelchair users or the visually impaired, Mr Finnegan said. "It's about people who are getting older, people with children in pushchairs, people who might fall and be on a crutch for a period of time. People should realise that this issue is likely to affect them at some stage in their life cycle."

Mr Finnegan conceded that the council still had a lot to do in terms of improving path and road surfaces, but he said the council also had to ensure that accessibility was built into the design of any new works programme.

"We're not just putting right the wrongs of the past - anything that's done in the future must be done to the highest standards. There needs to be universal design in how we plan our cities."

Irish Times

Docks authority rules out claims against it

THE DUBLIN Docklands Development Authority has said it will face no compensation claims following a High Court ruling which overturned its granting of fast-track planning permission for a €200 million development at North Wall Quay.

The authority will today announce new procedures for dealing with fast-track section 25 planning approvals.

Last month, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan ruled that the authority acted outside its powers in approving the development by Liam Carroll's company, North Quay Investments Ltd (NQI).

The court found that an earlier agreement between the authority and NQI, under which the company would give land, free of charge, to the authority, gave rise to a "reasonable apprehension of bias" on behalf of the authority in reaching its planning decision.

The case was taken by rival developer Seán Dunne, who is now seeking an injunction to have part of the development which is already built - an €83 million office block intended as the new headquarter of Anglo Irish Bank - to be pulled down.

Separate proceedings taken by the Spencer Dock Development Company against the authority in relation to the same planning issue, were settled earlier this week.

The authority's chief executive, Paul Maloney, told The Irish Times yesterday that suggestions that there would be massive compensation claims from Mr Carroll, or any other party, were wrong. "Following legal advice I am satisfied that the docklands authority faces no compensation claims," he said.

Although the matter of the demolition of the €83 million building had yet to be resolved by the courts, Mr Maloney said the authority believed no compensation would be payable.

Irish Times

Wednesday 19 November 2008

State and Shell ask court to halt action

THE STATE and Shell E and P Ireland Ltd have asked the High Court to halt an action by local residents alleging that ministerial consents given six years ago for the Corrib gas pipeline breached European law and the principles of natural and constitutional justice.

In the latest stage of a long-running action relating to the pipeline, the State and Shell want the court to strike out proceedings in which four residents are seeking High Court declarations that Shell has no interest in lands acquired under compulsory acquisition orders (CAOs) issued in 2002 by the then minister.

The residents also want declarations that the minister had acted in breach of the principles of natural and constitutional justice, and in breach of European law, by giving consent for those CAOs.

The Minister and Shell, in a preliminary application which opened yesterday before Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, want the court to dismiss the residents’ case as it was brought outside the time limits for such cases.

The proceedings first arose in 2005 when Shell successfully obtained contempt of court orders against five men, known as the Rossport Five. The men spent 94 days in prison after refusing to abide by an order not to interfere with the pipeline work.

Shell later discontinued its proceedings saying it would seek an alternative route, but residents, including members of the Rossport Five, want to proceed with a counter-claim alleging the minister’s CAOs approving the pipeline route were not valid.

In their claim, the residents – Philip McGrath, James Philbin, Willie Corduff and Bríd McGarry argue that the CAOs were acquired under the wrong statutory provisions. They also claim that both Shell and the State are attempting to prevent issues from being determined by the High Court in an effort to “protect illegal acts” from judicial scrutiny.

They say any consent by the minister under the Gas Act 1976 to allow access to the land was based on a number of “fundamental” conditions, including that the route of the pipe was to be fixed so as to ensure a minimum distance of 70 metres between it and inhabited dwellings. They claim the route goes within 70 metres of such houses.

The residents also claim Shell failed to comply with a condition of ministerial approval that a full assessment of the effect of leaks or a rupture should first be carried out. An environmental management plan should also have been drawn up and approved by the minister before consent was given, but this was not complied with, it is claimed.

Issues relating to the impact of noise on properties within 100 metres of the pipe were also not complied with, they claim.

The residents also claim they were not put on notice of the application by Shell to seek ministerial consent so they could make representations about the danger of the pipeline.

The State has denied the claims. The hearing continues today.

The Irish Times

Docklands dispute over DDDA awarding of 'covert' contract settled

THE SPENCER Dock Development Company has settled its court proceedings in which it alleged there was a “covert contract” between the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) and developer Liam Carroll’s North Quay Investments (NQI) Ltd relating to a NQI development on the north quays.

The case was settled on consent yesterday on terms which provide for the setting aside of the permission granted by the docklands authority for the NQI development.

The terms also include a declaration that the docklands authority acted in excess of its powers in entering into an agreement with NQI on May 31st, 2007, and an order quashing the agreement.

The DDDA has also agreed to pay the Spencer Dock Development Company’s legal costs in the settlement ruled yesterday, on consent of the parties, by Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

Spencer Dock Development,which controls development lands over 29 acres at Spencer Dock, Dublin, had claimed the DDDA “seriously compromised itself” in relation to alleged commitments to NQI under the agreement and had given NQI “a considerable commercial advantage”.

It also claimed the DDDA may be liable for millions of euro in losses to Spencer Dock Development as a result of the agreement, as NQI had effectively secured a “rewriting of the planning scheme” to ensure “the maximum benefit” for the lands owned by it.

The company claimed NQI had secured a major advantage over other developers in the docklands areas.

Yesterday’s settlement comes after the DDDA told the Commercial Court last month it was not appealing an earlier court decision that it acted outside its powers in granting “fast-track” permission for the €200 million NQI development on Dublin’s north quays.

The DDDA decision not to appeal Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan’s judgment in October means it may yet be exposed to multimillion-euro compensation claims from developers.

The judgment could also affect the docklands authority’s plans to create a high-rise quarter jutting out into the river Liffey along North Wall Quay, east of Spencer Dock.

This scheme would have been facilitated by NQI’s ceding of land, free of charge.

The Irish Times

Tuesday 18 November 2008

The battle of North Lotts

Liam Carroll's North Quay Investments Ltd lodges an application to the Dublin Docklands Development Authority for a "fast-track" exemption certificate to build a major office development on Dublin's North Wall Quay.

DDDA decides in July 2007 to grant this section 25 certificate.

The decision is based, in part, on a confidential agreement between the DDDA and NQI for the developer to grant a certain strip of land free-of-charge to the docklands authority.

l August 29, 2007

The DDDA issues the certificate for three eight-storey buildings.

l October 9, 2008

The High Court rules that the DDDA acted outside of its powers and breached fair procedures in how it certified the €200m-development. It quashes the "fast-track" certificate.

Mrs Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan rules that the nature of the confidential agreement between the DDDA and NQI gave rise to "a reasonable apprehension of bias" by the DDDA in reaching its decision.

l October 23, 2008

Rival developer Sean Dunne seeks injunction requiring Carroll, who has spent €83m developing the office block, to tear it down.

Mr Carroll, who cannot apply to the DDDA for retention permission, asks the High Court to rule whether his quashed certificate is "void", or merely "voidable" and, therefore, capable of being validated.

Paul Gallagher, the Attorney General, is asked to review the 1997 DDDA Act and the powers of the authority to ascertain if any amendments are required in light of the High Court ruling.

l November 11, 2008

Liam Carroll applies to Dublin City Council for retention permission to save his office block.

Irish Independent

Developer tells court 'council was negligent'

DEVELOPER Bernard McNamara is standing over a court claim that Dublin City Council acted negligently and improperly in preventing the demolition of several 19th century properties as part of a €40m development at Merrion Road in Dublin.

The proceedings by Mr McNamara, and his company Radora Developments Ltd, against the council, were admitted to the Commercial Court yesterday.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly clarified matters related to representation in the case of other parties, including individual councillors against whom serious allegations were made in an affidavit.

The judge was told yesterday by Eamon Galligan, counsel for Radora, that the claims of negligence and misfeasance in public office were being made against the council as a whole and not individual councillors. His side were standing over those claims, counsel said.

Radora claims the council's decision of July 8 last, listing the properties as protected structures, was made for "an improper motive" and had exposed Radora to costs of €750,000 a year to maintain the properties.

The registered properties, known as the LLandaff properties, are located at 207-223 Merrion Road.

A date for the hearing has been fixed for February 24, 2009.

Tim Healy
Irish Independent

Docklands plans hit by builders' €1bn turf war

THE Attorney General has been called in to review the law which allows the Dublin Docklands Development Authority to "fast-track" planning permissions, in the wake of a €1bn turf war between developers Sean Dunne and Liam Carroll.

Last month, the High Court quashed a special exemption certificate granted by the authority to developer Liam Carroll -- for a €200m office block development on the former Brooks Thomas site at North Wall Quay.

The quashing of the 'Section 25' certificate prompted rival builder Sean Dunne to seek a High Court injunction to force Mr Carroll, who has already spent €83m on the development, to tear down the structure.

Dunne himself is facing major objections, including one by Dermot Desmond, to his proposed development of a 37-storey tower in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

The Irish Independent has learned that Environment Minister John Gormley asked Attorney General Paul Gallagher SC to review aspects of the 11-year-old law which established the DDDA, amid concerns that the judgment could affect other sites.

The Docklands Authority, which is not appealing the High Court ruling, issues some 50 special exemption certificates each year and told the Irish Independent that the judgment won't affect other developments.

But Treasury Holdings is also challenging a Section 25 certificate, raising concerns about the legal validity of scores of developments.

These include developments already given the go-ahead by the DDDA, and any future developments under its fast-track procedure.


The Carroll-Dunne row, dubbed the 'Battle of North Lotts', has exposed major deficiencies in the law underpinning the DDDA. The fast-track procedure allows the DDDA to grant planning permission without recourse to standard planning procedures, and members of the public cannot object to their use.

The 1997 Act does not outline what procedures should be adopted for granting special exemption certificates, nor does it make any provision for what occurs to a development if it is declared invalid. The DDDA also lacks powers to grant retention permission, and has no powers to enforce compliance with exempted development certificates.

Liam Carroll has now applied for retention permission to Dublin City Council, who previously rejected his plans for the development.

It is understood that if his retention application is rejected by the council, Mr Carroll may seek to rely on a two-year old Supreme Court ruling handed down in the wake of the statutory rape crisis to hold onto his office block.

Last month, lawyers acting for Mr Carroll asked the High Court to clarify whether DDDA's consent to the now unauthorised development is void, or else "voidable" and therefore capable of being deemed lawful despite the fact that the 'Section 25' certificate was invalidated by the High Court.

The legal argument is similar to that deployed by the Supreme Court which ruled that a 41-year old child rapist, who was released from prison because the law under which he had been convicted was struck down, could still be jailed because the State acted in good faith when it relied on the impugned statute.

Irish Independent

Study on odour from waste plant finds serious errors

SERIOUS errors in the estimated level of waste from commercial premises by Dublin City Council have been highlighted in a report on the operation of a sewage treatment plant in Dublin.

The report also found that odour levels allowed under the contract to operate the Ringsend plant were more than 20 times the standard specified in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted during the planning process.

Environment Minister John Gormley, who commissioned the report by independent consultant Brendan Fehily, said yesterday the failure to adhere to the EIA recommendations was a key element in the plant’s subsequent problems.

Mr Gormley estimated that it had cost Dublin City Council an extra €10 million to remedy such errors.

The facility, which has been in operation since 2003, has been blamed by residents in Ringsend, Irishtown and Sandymount, for regularly causing foul odours in the area, although it has been credited with a dramatic improvement in water quality in Dublin Bay.

Mr Gormley, a local TD, commissioned the report last June in order to establish the background to the odour problem and why the plant was frequently operating above its design capacity.

It concluded that the flow of sewage into the plant was underestimated by almost 190,000 people due to poor calculations about the amount of waste contributed by commercial premises such as shops, offices, pubs and restaurants.

The number of daily commuters to Dublin, as well as tourist numbers, were also underestimated.

The report established that the standard of permissible odour based on measurements of hydrogen sulphide (the smell of rotten eggs) in the contract documents was 20 times higher than the figure in its Environment Impact Statement.

“This was either a serious error of judgment or a mistake,” concluded Mr Fehily.

He noted that previous attempts to address the problems of odour since 2003 were inadequate and of a “fire brigade” nature.

“A significant number of odour problems were created by inadequate design and equipment failure,” he said.

However, the report also pointed out that the recommendations of a study commissioned by the council on the odour problems should be fully implemented by the end of this month.

Mr Fehily claimed such remedial work should ensure that future problems with odours will be “minor and few and far between”.

He also recommends significant improvements in the monitoring and licensing of discharges from businesses.

The report claims there is still work to be done to make the Ringsend plant compliant with an EU Urban Wastewater Directive as it is still discharging effluent with excessive level of nutrients into Dublin Bay.

Welcoming the report, Mr Gormley said its recommendations, if followed, “should ensure a high-quality and well-run wastewater system for the Dublin region”.

He has asked the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment to examine the background of the case.

Dublin City Council yesterday refused to comment on the report’s findings.

Irish Examiner

City council 'negligent' in preventing demolition

DEVELOPER BERNARD McNamara and his company, Radora Developments Ltd, are standing over their court claim that Dublin City Council acted negligently and improperly in preventing the demolition of several 19th-century properties as part of a €40 million development at Merrion Road, Dublin.

The proceedings by Radora and Mr McNamara against the council were admitted to the Commercial Court yesterday after Mr Justice Peter Kelly clarified matters related to representation in the case of other parties, including individual councillors against whom serious allegations were made in an affidavit.

Because of the nature of the allegations, the judge had directed that the affected councillors and two residents' associations should be put on notice of the case.

The judge was told yesterday by Eamon Galligan SC, for Radora, that the claims of negligence and misfeasance in public office were being made against the council as a whole and not against individual councillors.

His side were standing over those claims, counsel said.

Mr Galligan also undertook to circulate a corrected affidavit on behalf of his clients withdrawing an incorrect claim in an earlier affidavit, which said that Cllr Michael Donnelly had voted for the listing of the properties when, in fact, he had abstained.

The judge directed Radora to pay Mr Donnelly's costs on a solicitor/own client basis, the highest level.

After being told that neither of the two local residents' associations nor any individual councillors named in the grounding affidavit in the case wished to be joined to the action as notice parties, the judge made directions for the exchange of legal documents in the case and fixed it for hearing on February 24th.

In the proceedings, Radora claims the council's decision of July 8th last to list the properties as protected structures was made for "an improper motive" and had exposed Radora to costs of some €750,000 a year to maintain the properties.

The registered properties, known as the Llandaff properties, are located at 207-223 Merrion Road beside the Tara Towers Hotel. They are part of a larger site bought for €10 million between 2002 and 2004.

The Tara Towers development, known as the Elm Park development, is being carried out by another McNamara company, Woodmead Ltd, and is substantially complete.

The Llandaff properties were acquired with a view to extending the Elm Park development.

Radora claims a number of councillors appeared to have been motivated by an improper motive to prevent the demolition of the structures without addressing the issue as to whether they were of special interest.

The decision registering the properties was made despite no evidence to support it and in the face of overwhelming evidence against it, including evidence from conservation experts for the council, it is claimed.

Radora further claims that the decision was taken against the opinion of the assistant city manager.

While Dublin City Council received submissions from local residents arguing for the properties to be listed as protected structures, Radora claims those submissions contained no expert evidence to support the claim that the properties were of special interest.

Radora's first planning application for the development was refused by the council and An Bord Pleanála in 2006.

Radora has since proposed a new development which requires the demolition of the Llandaff properties.

It claims the council's planning officials initially welcomed the proposed new development, but the subsequent decision to list the Llandaff properties means the planning application will be "futile".

The Irish Times

Docklands body warned of legal threat to master plan

DUBLIN DOCKLANDS Development Authority (DDDA) has been warned that its latest draft master plan, which carries a €4.5 billion price tag, is so flawed that it would be open to challenge in the High Court.

Property developer Treasury Holdings, controlled by Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan, said it reserved "the right to instigate legal proceedings should the significant issues highlighted not be addressed in a satisfactory manner".

In a submission to the DDDA, Treasury said it had been excluded from any meaningful consultation on the master plan, despite being "the largest stakeholder in the Docklands area", claiming that this was "a gross breach of statutory duty".

The company complained that no details were provided or references made in the draft to the DDDA's radical proposal to create a "Liffey Island" projecting into the river between Spencer Dock and the East Link bridge, with a new canal on three sides.

"The canal would result in a major intervention into the North Lotts and the lack of any reference to it or assessment of its impact in the strategic environmental assessment is a significant omission," according to the company's submission.

"Any proposed intrusion into the River Liffey would be contrary to the policies of the draft master plan, most notably conservation policies relating to the quays [and] contrary to the DDDA's stated position until now of preserving the campshires."

This is a reference to the strips of land between the roads and waterfronts in Docklands that used to be occupied by sheds but have since been laid out as amenity areas, with pedestrian and cycle paths, trees and benches to sit on.

The proposed "Liffey Island" would involve building a high-rise cluster on stilts in the river, obliterating a long stretch of the North Wall Quay and campshire and compensating for these losses by creating a U-shaped canal to surround the new buildings.

The submission also criticised the draft plan's "preferable treatment" for redeveloping the Poolbeg peninsula, "despite its relatively low accessibility compared to areas such as Spencer Dock", where Treasury is involved in building the National Conference Centre.

"This is not acceptable from an economic and planning policy perspective, given the significant national investment in the North Lotts area," it said, referring to the conference centre, the Luas Docklands extension and the planned rail interconnector with Heuston.

Treasury said it was also "concerned that the preferential treatment afforded to the Poolbeg area is not based on sound planning grounds but rather is in order to ensure that the DDDA extract maximum value from their landholdings" in that part of the Docklands area.

This is a reference to the former Irish Glass Bottle Company site, which was acquired in October 2006 for €412 million by a consortium headed by property developer Bernard McNamara, with the DDDA holding a minority stake. The price equated to €17 million per acre.

The Irish Times

Opposition to Rathcoole incinerator expressed at oral hearing

A RANGE of issues from traffic to possible adverse effects on human and animal health, to the height of a proposed chimney stack, were raised by politicians objecting to an incinerator planned for west Dublin yesterday.

The politicians - including Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs John Curran, Fine Gael's Senate leader Frances Fitzgerald and Kildare North TDs Bernard Durkan (FG), and Emmet Stagg (Lab) - individually told a Bord Pleanála oral hearing the application should be refused.

Energy Answers International is seeking permission through Bord Pleanála's strategic infrastructure division for a €200 million incinerator with ability to recover sufficient energy to power 43,000 homes. The plant would use 365,000 tonnes of residual municipal waste; recover ferrous and non-ferrous metals; and use boiler ash in the manufacture of concrete blocks. It would be located in a quarry known as Behan's Quarry, some 3km (2 miles) from Rathcoole, west Dublin.

On the conclusion of the applicant's submission for permission yesterday, Ms Fitzgerald described the project as "premature". She said Minister for the Environment John Gormley and the Government had indicated a review of waste management policy was under way. In advance of this the application could "make incineration the cornerstone of such a policy".

"Under the Planning Act 2000 the Minister could have taken this step and informed the hearing that this incinerator is not required to meet capacity. It is disappointing that he did not do this," she said.

Ms Fitzgerald was supported by party colleague Bernard Durkan who also maintained the capacity of the proposed plant, at 365,000 tonnes per year, was unnecessary and contrary to the waste management plans of local authorities.

Labour's Emmet Stagg said that he had established by parliamentary questions to Mr Gormley and former taoiseach Bertie Ahern that the "the proposal was not in accordance with Government policy".

John Curran questioned the height of the chimney of the proposed facility and whether its location - low in the quarry - would result in the stack being only about 9m above the landscape.

The hearing was addressed by environmentalist Peter Sweetman who insisted that a number of assertions in the application were either misleading or inaccurate.

The application is also being opposed by local groups, including Rathcoole Against Incinerator Dioxins. Spokesman Liam McDermott said the community expected to be asked to outline its objections this week.

The Irish Times