Sinn Féin - On Your Side

EU backing for Leonard’s Ringsend petition

5 October, 2009 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard has expressed satisfaction with his hearing at the European Parliament Petitions Committee on the contentious issue of four waste management sites in the Ringsend area outside Coleraine.

The Committee and the EU Commission have accepted that they should further investigate issues in Leonard's petition such as the lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment at the Craigmore Road site when it re-opened in 2006 and how the planners assess any detrimental impact of the four sites in such a small area.

He said:

"I am very glad for the community around Ringsend that there has been positive movement. It means that the Department of Environment will now be contacted by the EU Commission and their past decisions and the way by which they are currently processing applications for other sites can be challenged.

“It was very clear at the hearing that MEPs saw the need for EU action now and also realised that our local DoE needs to be held to account.

“Edwin Poots has within the past few days bowed to public pressure on a current planning issue at one of the Ringsend sites. It is clear that further pressure from Brussels could be helpful in addressing some of the many concerns the people of Ringsend have."

Bairbre de Brún MEP who was present and spoke on the issues at the Petitions Committee hearing said afterwards:

"MEPs were clearly moved when they heard of the experience of local residents in the Ringsend area. The MEPs want to look into the matter further and have decided that the European Parliament Committee will contact the DoE to seek information about their response to the concerns raised.

"It can be no coincidence that it was in the week that the Ringsend petition came before the European Parliament that the Minister decided that the application to extend the volume and type of waste at the Craigmore Road site could no longer be treated as a 'minor amendment' and would instead require a full planning application." ENDS

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