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‘Incinerator ruling a victory for residents and the GFA’ - Kearney

6 July, 2018 - by Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney has welcomed today’s Court of Appeal ruling to reject the Department of Infrastructure’s appeal over its decision to grant planning permission for a controversial waste incinerator in Hightown.

Belfast’s High Court had earlier ruled that the decision by departmental officials to approve the facility was unlawful. This was challenged in the Court of Appeal but the original ruling was today upheld.

Welcoming the judgement, South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney said: “This decision is another vindication and another victory for local democracy, campaigning residents and the primacy of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Approval should never have been granted for this facility in the first place given the widespread opposition and concerns over the safety of residents. The decision to appeal the original verdict was also wrong and it's time that the Department started listening to the courts, local communities and political representatives.

“Further to my engagement with other political representatives, local campaigners the Department Permanent Secretary earlier this week, I am calling on the Department of Infrastructure to accept this verdict and do the right thing by withdrawing its support for permission to proceed with this incinerator.

“The Court was very clear that it would be contrary to the Good Friday Agreement for such a significant and controversial decision to be taken by departmental officials in the absence of an Executive.

“I very much welcome that as it again signals the importance of re-establishing the power-sharing institutions in a way that is consistent with the Good Friday Agreement.

“That means dealing with the equality and rights issues at the heart of the crisis and both governments fulfilling their responsibility as co guarantors of the GFA when the British Irish Governmental Conference finally meets later this month.”

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