An Bord Pleanala granted permission for the €160m facility to be built in Ringaskiddy
The Tánaiste has voiced his "deep disappointment and frustration" at the decision to grant planning permission for a new waste-to-energy incinerator in Cork Harbour.
An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for the €160m facility to be built in Ringaskiddy, County Cork
It is expected the incinerator will process 240,000 tonnes of waste every year.
Should the project go ahead, waste management company Indaver Ireland expects it to operate for 30 years.
However, the decision has been strongly criticised by environmental groups and the local community.
In a statement this morning, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he made a " detailed submission in person" during the planning process warning that it would be "inconceivable" to locate a major incinerator in the harbour.
He said the Government has already invested millions in establishing a marine college, clean-energy research centres and cleaning up the old Irish Steel site on Haulbowline Island.
“I have spent a lot of time around the Cabinet table making the case for significant investment in Cork Harbour," he said.
"We have a master plan for Spike Island and a master plan for Haulbowline Island, including investment of €70 million.
“We are working hard to create something very special at the heart of Cork Harbour area which is of national significance.
"I can understand that people will be very angry and frustrated at this announcement today and I share this sense with them.”
Indaver Ireland has applied for planning permission at the site three times - with An Bord Pleanála's own inspector recommending that it be rejected.
The Green Party said it is disappointed with the decision, warning there are several environmental reasons why the site is not suitable.
The party's representative in Cork South Central, Lorna Bogue, said she is shocked by the latest decision.
"We received a 27 page report that outlined that the inspector actually rejected the incinerator," she said.
"So the person who has expertise in planning; who came to the community; who listed to all our objections, agreed with us.
"But An Bord Pleanála itself decided to grant permission for this incinerator."
In its decision, An Bord Pleanála rejected its inspector's view that the project's environmental impact statement lacked robustness and was insufficient in relation to the Ringaskiddy site.
It said the incinerator would not pose a significant risk to public health as flue gases can be cleaned using modern technology.
It also said the plans would not impair property prices or hinder the development of the National Maritime College of Ireland.
Indaver managing director John Ahern has welcomed the decision, insisting the plans are fully in line with national, regional and local planning regulations.