'Reckless': Local farmers' group criticise decision to give Limerick's Aughinish Alumina go-ahead for rock blasting
AN Bord Pleanala has given the go-ahead to Aughinish Alumina to begin blasting and extracting rock close to the mud ponds at the Askeaton plant.
The decision has been described as “reckless” by veteran campaigner, Pat Geoghegan of the Cappagh Farmers Support Group who lodged an appeal, with An Bord Pleanála after Limerick City and County Council gave permission for the proposal to the company earlier this year.
“What this means is that the company can set explosives just meters from the existing mud ponds that store 50 million plus tonnes of toxic waste,” Mr Geoghegan said this Wednesday.
He also claimed that blasting will take place close to the gas line connecting Aughinish to the national grid.
“If the explosives breach any part of the embankment or the base of the mud ponds,” he warned, “ you are looking at the destruction of the Shannon Estuary for decades to come, with the red toxic waste flowing straight from the ponds into the Shannon.”
Moreover, he added: This planning decision has taken no account of such an environmental disaster should it happen.”
And he pointed out that no separate financial bond or insurance bond had been demanded or put in place to cover such an eventuality.
“This could potentially expose the tax payer to millions of euro in damages and clean-up if an accident were to occur,” he declared.