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Raging over Shanagolden waste to energy plan

Champion Chatter

A WEST Limerick group is appealing for support from residents in West Clare, in their ongoing opposition to the development of a municipal waste to energy plant in Gortadroma, which is located close to Shanagolden.

Plans for a gasification plant, which converts waste matter into gas using a heat process, have been approved by Limerick councillors but has yet to receive planning permission.

RAGE Limerick (Residents Against Gasification in our Environment) has organised a public meeting on the issue in Shanagolden Community Centre for Thursday, February 18 at 8pm.
American company Cadence EnviroPower, who are behind the proposal, claims the process is potentially more efficient than incineration and produces 100 times less emissions.

However, the Shanagolden group is concerned at the possible effects on their own area and in West Clare of dioxins emitted from the proposed plant at a landfill site, which is owned by Limerick County Council.

Mary O’Connor, secretary of RAGE, says gasification is “unproven technology” and that “nobody wants to be a guinea pig”.

Ms O’Connor says amongst the waste material likely to be gasified are tyres, plastic and general household waste.

“We don’t know what kind of a cocktail of chemicals it will send out. Nobody knows. We’re very concerned and we would like to let the people of Clare know. I have a brother in Ennis and anyone he has spoken to doesn’t know anything about this,” the committee secretary told The Clare Champion this week.

“We’re very concerned for the young and the elderly, particularly for people with allergies or asthma. There is no safe level of dioxins. There will be a chimney and it will emit dioxins. Even though there will be a filter on, it won’t trap everything. A percentage will escape into the atmosphere and, from our research, there is no safe exposure to dioxins. Nobody can tell us what is going to come out,” she claims.

Joan O’Mahoney, also a member of RAGE, adds, “You don’t know what the mix is, on any given day, going into the furnace, so you don’t know what’s coming out. They are supposed to be burning 1,000 tonnes of waste per day and 45 tonnes of tyres. The waste will be coming from the nine counties in the southern waste region. From what we can gather, the dioxins would travel a 50 mile radius. It would reach across to Clare and it would reach Limerick City”.

By Peter O’Connell

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