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December 2018 – March 2019 : Does our health matter?

2018

18 December – The Mungret air quality monitors cease operating.  The unit is sent to the UK for repair.   Anne Goggin, senior executive engineer LCCC, admits there were problems with the other monitors and consequently no collection of any data for over two months. When asked by LAP why she failed to notify the public, Goggin’s responded that she ‘was unaware of the level of public interest in these monitors’.

20 December – Dr Martin Hogan, a medical executive of the occupational health provider CHI, (who served as an expert witness for CRH/ICL at the ABP oral hearing), assembles a Health Impact Assessment on behalf of CRH/ICL in the week before Christmas. Hogan highlights the ‘considerable difficulties’ in undertaking such an assessment due to the lack of baseline data and the absence of health risk registers. Nevertheless, he submits an assessment based upon a partial analysis of the research literature, which unequivocally states that “No ambient air quality standards for ultra-fine particles are in place.” LAP has the report independently assessed and Hogan’s report is criticised for being superficial.

2019

January Over 4000 individual objections have now been registered with the EPA expressing multiple concerns about the for-profit incinerations plans. Objections come from amongst businesses, householders, hospital staff and those involved in the hospitality sector.

Campaign by LAP is included on the Environmental Justice Atlas as part of a worldwide movement for environmental protection.

5 February – Thomas Boland, Environmental Health officer with the HSE, writes to EPA with a cover letter from Public Health England (PHE) giving the all clear to ICL’s incineration plans. Boland and PHE are the same ‘expert’ bodies, who had given the all clear back in 2016 to the original list of toxic waste codes that had been dramatically cut back as a result of the oral hearing. Boland, however, failed to turn up to the August 2017 oral hearing and fails in every respect to address the concerns of thousands of Limerick residents.

9 February – LAP publishes a letter in both the Limerick Post and Limerick Leader ‘One-Sided Study’ high-lighting the evident fault lines and partial conclusions of the Health Impact Statement carried out by Dr Hogan on behalf of CRH/ICL.

13 February – Dr Gordon Reid: “It is therefore misleading to assess the use of alternative fuels as free of risk to human health, based on a limited set of only 15 articles studying a limited set of alternative fuels, and omitting the entire literature on the health effects of burning the very varied waste stream intended in the present application. Given that the proposal is to burn a full range of municipal waste, the relevant literature must encompass the health effects of burning mixed municipal waste.” (Analysis of Martin Hogan’s Health Risk Assessment, 13 Feb. 2019)

14 February – Dissatisfied with CRH/ICL’s response to their further information that “does not adequately identify, describe and assess the direct and indirect effects of the proposed development on the environment,” the EPA request additional ‘further information’ from CRH/ICL and gives them until the 11 April 2019 to respond.

17 February – The challenge by Friends of the Irish Environment and Future Proof Clare opposing the plans to build a terminal at Ballylongford to store U.S. fracked gas or LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) is referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).  Making the referral, High Court Judge Garrett Simons told the developers that work cannot begin on the proposed gas terminal on the Shannon Estuary until the ECJ decides whether the project must be assessed under the Habitats Directive. Legal sources say the referral to the ECJ could take between one and two years.

21 February – ‘LAP urge Irish Cement to withdraw EPA application’ (Limerick Leader, 21 February 2019).

25 February – At a special meeting of LCCC Cllr Malachy McCreesh (SF) seeks to ban the burning of rubbish as part of the new regional strategy. The motion will form part of the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy and will be decided upon by the Southern Regional Assembly.

21 March – LAP convenes a public meeting in the South Court Hotel to up-date the public and local councillors in anticipation of the local elections in May.

11 April – Deadline for CRH/ICL to provide further information.