[Sinn Fein]

1st July 2003

Sinn Fein calls for All-Ireland environmental protection agency and rejects incineration elements of Environment Bill

Speaking during a Dáil debate on the Report and Final Stages of the Protection of the Environment Bill Sinn Fein Spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. called for an All Ireland environmental protection agency.

Deputy Morgan said: ``I wish to address the issues of dumping and incineration in terms of waste management plans. Its central thrust is that we should avoid having a line of incinerators across the State that will require a constant feed of waste, thus providing no incentive for people to produce less waste. The incineration industry, as I have already outlined, is a dirty one. It is harmful to health and, more importantly, it is totally unnecessary. The Minister knows that communities and councils across the State recognise the futility of incineration and are opposed to it.

``A recent report demonstrated to the Minister that the worries about the safety of incineration have not been fully addressed. The report does not even consider the US Environment Protection Agency's findings in this regard.

``There is a need for an all-Ireland strategy for dealing with waste issues and for a single agency on the island to deal with environmental protection. The Minister is moving ahead of himself considerably by forcing his incineration policy on the people without having first considered the other safe options.

``There is an opportunity for the Minister to realise, at this late stage, that there is no need to poison the people through mismangement or to be so narrow-minded as to have an environmental protection agency with responsibility for a little over half of the island and another one with responsibility for the rest. There are waste streams and pollution crossing the Border. I dealt with an incident in this respect in Louth County Council last Saturday morning and I mentioned another incident to the Minister on the issue of waste pouring across the Border into County Fermanagh. If there were one agency, this issue could be dealt with very comprehensively.''

Sinn Fein put forward amendments for the development and implementation of an All-Ireland waste management plan; the establishment of an All-Ireland Environmental Protection Agency; the prohibition of the inclusion of the option of incineration or thermal treatment in regional and central waste management plans and strategies; to delete the sections which provide for the imposition of the service charges and to transfer authority over waste management plans back to elected members of local authorities.

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