Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has highlighted concerns over the environmental impact of the fire at the Oxigen recycling plant in Ballymount, and has called for an immediate audit of other vulnerable factories in the locality.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rated it a Category 1 incident and has issued warnings over the quality of air in the area due to smoke caused by the fire.
Crowe criticised the lack of traffic signage after roads were closed in the area, the poor information released to other businesses and employers in the area, and he believes that serious lessons needed to be learned following this major incident.
Deputy Crowe raised the fallout from the fire in the Dáil today under topical issues.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“I am deeply concerned over the impact that this fire is having to constituents and businesses in Dublin South West.
“The Environmental Protection Agency has told people in the affected areas to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.
“Are they seriously suggesting that people stay indoors for a week or more?
“Do they believe that the noxious and dangerous fumes will not get into residents homes and lodge there? Does this also mean that employees in neighbouring businesses are to stay indoors as well?
“While the fire seems to be contained, the continued air pollution and poor air quality seems likely to continue.
“This fire is burning close to residential areas and if the extremely hazardous material that was on site, including asbestos, caught fire it could have been a lot worse.
“The absence of any coherent traffic signage has also caused difficulties for local businesses and drivers.
“Hopefully the fire can be extinguished soon so that forensic tests can be completed and we can find out the cause of this dangerous fire.
“This fire should be a wake-up call for the Government and the local authority.
“There is no point in having strict environment and safety regulations with no one enforcing them, as seems to be the current situation.
“We have an abundance of factories spread throughout this area that store dangerous, toxic, and flammable chemicals and substances. If these premises are not properly monitored and regulated they have the potential to cause serious damage to the area.
“I am calling on the Government to ensure that there are regular audits and checks being carried out on these premises in Dublin South West, and across the State.
“It is also important that the local fire fighting services are adequately equipped and resourced to deal with major incidents like this. This issue is too serious to be left on the long finger by the regulatory powers.
“These are all legitimate and reasonable concerns that are held by the residents of Dublin South West and the Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, urgently needs to address them following this fire.”