Thursday, November 20, 2008


The Rathcoole Heritage Society has many concerns regarding the proposed Waste Incinerator at Behan’s Quarry, Rathcoole. As we know, Heritage is an important part of people’s lives, giving individuals and communities a sense of identity and belonging and bestowing on them a sense of place to their surroundings. This heritage can easily be damaged by pollution – acid rain pollution, dust pollution, noise pollution, odour pollution and visual pollution.

The Windmill

The old windmill on Windmill Hill is situated only 35m from the perimeter of the proposed Waste Incinerator development site. As it is overlooking this site it is visible for many miles around. This Windmill is listed in the Record of Monuments and Places and The Record for Protected Structures (South Dublin County Council Development Plan 2004-2010).
Nobody knows exactly how old the Windmill is but it is of the same type of structure as of tower houses of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. As there were many mills built on the abundant number of rivers in the area, some historians suggest that the Windmill was used as a beacon by the settlers in The Pale to warn off possible raids from the native Irish.
Windmill Hill has figured in various records and stories throughout the years. The historian, Liam O’Broin found a reference that an execution took place there in 1641.
Speaking to local historian in Rathcoole, 87 year-old Mary Mc Nally, she told me that The Windmill building was used during the Penal Times by priests on the run to conduct Marriages and indeed, Baptisms. She speaks of one particular Jesuit priest, Fr. Warde who, after conducting a marriage ceremony there in 1743, was caught by ‘The Priest Catchers’ and hanged on the spot. The couple who were married were a Patrick Sheil from Valleymount , Co. Wicklow and a local young widow, Ms Bermingham. Patrick Sheil actually was Mary Mc Nally's Great Great Great Grandfather. It was unusual at the time for a man who lived so far away as Valleymount meeting and marrying a young lady from Rathcoole. Mary tells me that her ancestor, Patrick Sheil, grazed sheep on Ms Bermingham’s land during the Winter and this was how they met and got married. In 1916, people climbed Windmill Hill to see Dublin burning. Later locals to watch fireworks on the Liffey used it and to view air shows in The Phoenix Park and in Baldonnel.

So much for the History lesson…

Senior archeologist Gary Conboy prepared an Archeological and Cultural Heritage Assessment of Windmill Hill and the proposed site for a Waste Incinerator. He states that battering of the quarry face, approx. 40m from the Windmill will not damage the structure of the Monument. How does he know this? Surely this is a conclusion that can only be made by a qualified structural engineer? I studied archeology many years ago in UCD but I do not remember structural engineering to be part of the course. He continues, “In the opinion of the air emissions consultant, dust emissions from the stack will be insignificant and soiling of the building insignificant; the level of acid deposited on the structure is not ‘expected ‘ (in other words ,they do not know) to be significant due to the low concentrations.” Who is this air emission consultant? He does not give his name. Mr. Conboy states that Archeological monitoring and supervision of the windmill structure will be undertaken during all phases of construction. He does not say who is going to do it - nor is there any specification whatsoever included in the Report.

The Dublin Regional Authority's submission to the Bord includes very detailed information from their expert who travelled to Energy Answers sister Waste Incinerator plant in the USA. Their report has many disturbing and alarming facts including regular fires and explosions occurring there. Firefighters spent 18 hours extinguishing one fire there recently and photographs show massive clouds of black, toxic, poisonous clouds of smoke sprawling over a very large area. Chemicals and acids from such a fire would not be not be low density – the Windmill would suffer greatly - visually and structurally – not mentioning the fact that people would be evacuated from their homes and the nearby N7 would be closed for at least 24 hours.
This Archeological Report does not make one reference to The SDCC Development Plan 2004-2010. Mr. Conboy makes recommendations and proposals but nothing agreed re the Archeological Monitoring of Windmill. Monitoring of the Windmill site has never been carried out before - not even during blasting of quarry. There are no solid agreements in his report about who is going to do the monitoring.

There are 2 Peregrine Falcons nesting in the Quarry. They are the fastest animal in the world – can reach speeds of up to 200mph or 320 kmph. Peregrine populations were severely affected by the widespread use of pesticides like DDT in the 50’s and 60’s. Since 1970 the ban on these pesticides has allowed the peregrine falcons to slowly recover. They are now listed as an an endangered species. Although they have survived nesting in the quarry, Rosaleen Dwyer, Heritage Officer with the SDCC, told me that odours and dioxins will most likely force them to leave. This is apart from the battering of the quarry face where they nest. And of course if one of the frequent fires or explosions occur, (which is most likely) not alone are the peregrine falcons in danger but so are wild life for miles around. Regarding odours, The Dublin Authority report states that despite repeated complaints from neighbours of Energy Answers Plant in The USA and despite repeated efforts to subdue those odours, Energy Answers have not yet invented any method to do so. The odours persist. It must be noted that Peregrine Falcons mate for life and Irish Peregrines tend to nest in the same place year on year. An Incinerator in Behan’s Quarry would certainly be a big threat to this endangered species.

Finally, I wish to draw the attention of the Board to the fact that the proposed development is located within the catchment area of the River Griffeen. The source of the Griffeen river is high above in Rathcoole Hill. It flows alongside the Kilteel Road and then crosses under the N 7. A stream which flows alongside the proposed Waste Incinerator site empties into the Griffeen river at the N7 and then the river flows on to the centre of Lucan village where it joins up with the River Liffey. The submission from the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board states that the Griffeen system is exceptional among most urban river systems in the area, supporting migratory sea trout in the lower stretches and resident brown trout throughout.
Monitoring of the surface water after it has left the pond does not provide adequate safeguard to the receiving watercourse. Surface water from Truck wash will most likely contain detergents.
The Foul Water Treatment system is a pumped system. What happens if the pumps fail?
There is a strong suggestion here that waste water from the Waste Incinerator Site would contaminate the Griffeen River. The River Liffey is an established and well-known salmon fishing river – any contamination from a Waste Incinerator would be a disaster.
Our historian, Mary Mc Nally told me that when she was a young girl a special treat would be to be brought down to the Griffeen River and ‘Goodly’ the trout from the river, that is, catching them with their bare hands. I am afraid there would no more ‘Goodlying ‘ if a Waste Incinerator were built in Behan’s Quarry. Members of An Bord Pleanala, there are many reasons why Rathcoole is the worst possible site for a Waste Incinerator. And For the sake of our Heritage and Wild life alone, my plea is to reject this application.

Liam Mc Dermott
Chairperson, Rathcoole Heritage Society.
Also PRO for RAID
Ph: 087 6695390

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sponsored Walk

As indicated under the Fundraising Section the Sponsored walk on Saturday 8th went according to plan despite the inclement weather which, fortunately, held off until towards the end of the walk. The cup of tea or coffee, including biscuits , supplied by the Community Centre was well received at the end of the walk, as was the free raffle for prizes donated by local businesses.

Numbers were drawn at random to match the entry numbers to ensure complete fairness in the draw.

The presence of walkers from all areas close to Rathcoole demonstrated the widespread support for the efforts being made to oppose the planned incinerator.

It would be churlish not to recognise the efforts of all those involved in organsing both on the day or prior:

Joint Organiser - Christy Quinn

Senior Marshalls - Achiall Duggan/ Larry Rigley

Marshalls - Jack Quinn, Nigel Mooney, Peter Gaynor, John O 'Leary, Michael Ryan, Marion Mannion

Hall PA/ safety equipment - Darah Winston

Registration/Admin - Bernadette McIntyre, Terry Ivory, Jim Murray

Acknowledements are also due to Heidi Winston for supplying first aid support ( fortunately not required ) and Sergeant Gerry Feeney of Rathcoole Garda Station for providing an escort and traffic control .

Finally - may I thank all those who attended the walk, adults, children and canine friends, and those who could not walk, but provided sponsorship.

All contributions are appreciated , and a full list will be provided of those involved in walking or sponsoring when all lodgemnets have been completed.

Special mention should be made of those who were able to secure hugh levels of individual sponsors including the Muddiman Family, Maureen O Riordan , George Kearns, Mary Kerr, Phillis Dillon,( HFCS) Eamonn Walsh( Community School) .Mary and Jim Dwan ( Athgoe), Angela O'Looney, Robbie Kincaid amd Mary Clarke / John O Leary

If there are people who were unable attend but have raised sponsorship or would still like to sponsor the event please send contributions to me, Neville Graver, at 70 Beechwood Lawns, Rathcoole . Cheques should be made out to RAID. I can be contacted on 086 - 8297939

Neville Graver

Chairperson RAID

Friday, November 7, 2008

RAID Meeting in Lucan

The Raid committee were invited to The Spa Hotel, Lucan on Thursday 6th November to make a presentation to local residents. Pictured here are Mary Lou Mc Donald MEP, Cllr. Daithi O Dulaing (Anti-Incinerator Committee in Ringsend), Robert Ballasty and Deborah McDermott.
Other speakers at the meeting were Senator Frances Fitzgerald, Tom Dowling, Ronan MacDiarmada, Neville Graver, Christy Quinn, Jim Dwane and Liam McDermott. A very lively and informative discussion followed afterwards. This was one of the many Awareness Meetings attended and presented by the RAID committee.
To convince everybody of the health hazards and dangers of a Waste Incinerator is sometimes a demanding task but we do hope that everybody will eventually think of the future for their children and their grandchildren. It is they who will suffer most.
Show that you care and attend

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Public Meeting in Newcastle Hall 5th Nov

At the invitation of Ms. Ann Murphy from the Newcastle Residents’ Association, the Raid committee attended an information night in Newcastle Hall on Wednesday night, 5th November.
A large crowd attended and amongst those present to make a presentation was RAID chairperson, Neville Graver. Neville spoke about the huge commitment of the committee and their determination to fight the plan for an incinerator in Rathcoole. He went on to say that we need the support of everybody at the forthcoming oral hearing, especially at the Demonstration (one day only) which is being organized from 9.30a.m. on the first day of the hearing - Wednesday 12th November. Neville also reminded everybody to support the Sponsored Walk on Saturday 8th November. Assembly is at the Community Centre, Rathcoole at 1.00pm.
The next presentation was given by our legal advisor, Dermot Flanagan. Dermot gave up-to-date analysis of the legal side of things and reminded the audience that he had engaged Senior Counsel Mr. Pat Buckley and Mr. Niall O'Neill B.L. to present our case to An Bord Pleanala. Other experts in the field of Planning – Fenton Simons, and Science - engineer and physicist, Joe Mc Carthy have also been engaged.
Dermot pointed out that it was the intention of the legal team to use the names of individuals and of Residents’ Associations who submitted an objection. This is to impress upon An Bord Pleanala that the local and adjoining communities are united in their objection to the proposed Incinerator. As they say, there is strength in numbers. Needless to say the services of our legal team does not come cheap and therefore we would ask of the objectors to consider making a contribution of €100 towards the legal expenses for being represented by our counsel at the hearing. This is not mandatory and all donations are made voluntarily and in complete privacy unless otherwise requested. There will be no other costs involved.
You may contact Dermot Flanagan at his legal practice in Saggart at 01 4589800. (ref. RAID) All cheques to be made out to RAID (Rathcoole Against Incinerator Dioxins).

Biochemist Deborah Mc Dermott M.Sc. made an excellent visual presentation and told the audience about the dangerous emissions - Dioxins, Lead and Mercury - that would emanate from the proposed incinerator. Dioxins, she said were the most toxic chemicals known to science and no incinerator has ever been built that does not emit Dioxins. She also pointed out that although ENERGY ANSWERS say they plan to incinerate 365,000 tons of waste every year, this proposed incinerator would be capable to incinerate 730,000 tons, making it the largest incinerator in Europe. Newcastle village is in a direct line across from Behan’s quarry - the proposed site of the Waste Incinerator. We do not wish Rathcoole and Newcastle to be known as ‘The Incinerator Villages’.

The MC for the evening, Liam Mc Dermott (PRO for RAID) concluded the meeting with a Question and Answer Session. Public representatives present were, Senator Frances Fitzgerald, Cllrs. Dorothy Corrigan, Jim Daly and Therese Ridge – all of whom spoke and gave their full commitment and support to RAID’s campaign. Also there was Mr. Con Mc Carthy, President of the South Dublin Chamber of Commerce. He assured the audience that the Chamber was in full support of the anti incinerator committee. A number of local residents spoke and voiced their deep concern. Dermot Flanagan assured them all that we are in a very good position and that the committee is very confident that our efforts will halt the plan to build an Incinerator in Rathcoole. We all look forward to the Oral Hearing in The Green Isle Hotel on Wednesday 12th November and hope that the application for an incineration in our community will finally be beaten . The Oral Hearing is expected to last for 3 weeks. As the total cost of the Hearing will cost the RAID committee over €50,000, we welcome anybody who wishes to make a donation towards the costs.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Public Meeting in Rathcoole Community Centre Thurs 30th Oct

A well-attended Public Meeting was held in The Community Centre on Thursday 30th October and there to present some valuable information were biochemist, Deborah Mc Dermott, local solicitor Dermot Flanagan, Planner and Landscape architect, Ronan Mac Diarmada and engineer/physicist Mr. Joe Mc Carthy. They all gave very interesting talks and their contributions were very well received by all those present. Joe Mc Carthy made a most interesting presentation and pointed out the many scientific and engineering faults that he claimed pertained to the design of the Waste Incinerator proposed for Behan’s Quarry. It is his belief that this Incinerator would have the capacity to incinerate 730, 000 tons of waste every year, thus making it the largest Waste Incinerator in Europe. Our legal advisor Dermot Flanagan informed the audience of all the various aspects of the hearing. On behalf of the committee he has engaged senior counsel Pat Buckley together with junior counsel, Niall O’Neill. Deborah pointed out the health hazards of a Waste Incinerator and it was frightening to hear the true facts of this project. Ronan MacDiarmada spoke about the planning and told us that one of the most eminent planners in the country, Fenton Simons have been engaged by the RAID committee. Altogether, this is a very strong team that has been chosen to represent the people of Rathcoole/Newcastle/Saggart/Kill/ Tallaght/ Clondalkin/ Naas/ Lucan etc. Total cost to the committee will be approximately €50,000.
They hope to fundraise about €35,000 which leaves a shortfall of €15,000. Does anybody have any ideas how we can raise this amount? We have to fight this monster of a proposal. The committee would love to hear from you. Remember: The first things that residents living near a Waste Incinerator will notice are: SMELL… CONSTANT NOISE 24/7…and, You will not hear the birds sing anymore. Nature takes care of its own and they fly off to a healthier habitat.
Chairman of the meeting, Liam McDermott ended the evening with a raffle, which offered some wonderful prizes – all donated by local business people. A total of€1390 was realized. Christy Quinn was on hand, as usual, helping everybody and ensuring that the night was a success. Christy Mc Donnell and Daire Winston were in charge of acoustics and Terry Ivory and Bernadette Mc Intyre from the Awareness committee provided the display in the hall. Thanks to Centre Manager, Sean Reid and his staff who ensured that everything in the hall was fully organized and well prepared. Thanks to all the rest of the committee who are working so hard to ensure that the local residents have a safe and healthy place to live in. Thanks to John O’ Leary who did a great job decorating the hall. Ivor O'Toole was also there lending his expertise to the proceedings.
In attendance were a number of local representatives, Paul Gogarty TD, Joanne Tuffy TD, Senator Frances Fitzgerald, Therese Ridge, Dorothy Corrigan and a number of local councillors – Trevor Gilligan, Alan Mc Aughey plus some others whose names escape me. Minister John Curran sent his apologies for his absence, as did Minister Mary Harney. Aploogies were also received from Tom Dowling and Mick Murphy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another incinerator for Dublin is unnecessary – Hogan

Fine Gael's Environment Spokesman, Phil Hogan TD, today (Wednesday, 29th Oct) re-iterated his Party's opposition to a planned incinerator at Rathcoole in Co. Dublin and called on the Green Party to come clean on its stance on the development, after attending this morning's oral hearings on the Rathcoole Incinerator, hosted by An Bord Pleanála.

"Fine Gael is totally opposed to the provision of another incinerator in the Greater Dublin Area.

"Green Party Leader and Environment Minister John Gormley, repeatedly committed himself, when in opposition, against all new contractual arrangements for new incinerators. Yet he was happy to meet and hear the developers of this planned incinerator before planning permission was even lodged with South Dublin County Council.

"I am calling on the Green Party to join with Senator Frances Fitzgerald and all local Fine Gael representatives to oppose this incinerator."

Fitzgerald calls for equity of costs at planning oral hearing

FG Senate Leader and Spokesperson on Environment seek level playing pitch for voluntary groups opposing incinerator in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin

Fine Gael Senate Leader, Senator Frances Fitzgerald, has called for equity of costs in An Bord Pleanala's Oral Hearing into plans to locate a private incinerator in Rathcoole, Co. Dublin. Senator Fitzgerald raised this issue this morning (Wednesday, 28th Oct) when she addressed the Preliminary Oral Hearing in The Green Isle Hotel, Clondalkin where she was joined by the Fine Gael Spokesperson on Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D.

"This morning at the hearing I called on the Inspector of the Oral Hearing to address the issue of costs now so that local and voluntary groups would be in a position to participate in the hearing on an equal footing.

"Ireland is a signatory to the Aarahus Convention and under this Convention, and also under Article 10(a) of the Environmental Assessment Act, it is vital that equity of costs is afforded to all sides participating in an oral hearing with environmental concerns. It is most regrettable that the Inspector has decided that no determination on the issue of costs will be made until the end of the hearing. This adds uncertainty to the financial position of voluntary groups concerned about the impact of this private incinerator on their community."

"It is very difficult for local groups operating on a voluntary basis to be able to participate in an Oral Hearing when the costs of expert witnesses, legal advice and so on are expensive. Ireland must meet its obligations to these voluntary groups with environmental concerns,"
stated Senator Fitzgerald.

Speaking after attending the hearing this morning, Fine Gael's Spokesperson on Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D stated:
"Fine Gael is opposing this incinerator in Rathcoole and through Frances Fitzgerald, is working with the local community to assist them with their concerns and opposition. It is vital that equity of costs is addressed to allow voluntary groups put forward their case."