July 2nd 2019 – Mention in High Court : What Does That Mean? 

July 2nd 2019 – Mention in High Court : What Does That Mean? 

posted in: Environment, More Information | 0
It has been a little while since we sent out an update; and the SOS stand at the Saturday Market in Skibbereen is getting visitors inquiring into “what is happening now?”

The answer is ‘Not A Lot”. As you know we were granted a Judicial Review by the High Court and we had a  Court Date of March 12th. The case was postponed for 4 weeks by request of An Bord Pleanála ( ABP ) . This is a usual occurrence. When a Judicial Review is granted  the parties to that review are notified and given the opportunity to let the Courts know if they will be contesting the case.

The case has been adjourned again twice since then, by request of An Bord Pleanála; and so we are still waiting to hear their position. The next date in Court is July 2nd so we may have a better idea of “what is happening now” after that day.

An Bord Pleanála’s reason for adjournment is that they are overrun with cases.

In the mean time the Government has declared a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency and have stated they are committed to the National Mitigation Plan and the National Adaptation Plan. However at the same time as making this commitment, Government Departments are making decisions that run contrary to this declaration, such as the granting of planning permission for an incinerator in Cork Harbour, the destruction of an important Carbon Sink in Bantry Bay through mechanical harvesting of Kelp, the granting of exploration licences for oil and gas companies off the Coast of Kerry and of course the granting of Planning Permission for raw oil based polymer to be compounded in Skibbereen.

In all these places local people have come together in fund raising to take An Bord Pleanála to the High Court in order to challenge a decision that spells ecological devastation and runs contrary to the declared Climate and Biodiversity Emergency.

Judicial Review is not simply handed out to any one, however in all of these cases the High Court has ruled that the community have a reasonable case to bring and thus An Bord Pleanála have a case to answer.
If An Bord Pleanála are overrun with these cases as they claim, then surely there is something wrong with the criteria or process that they follow in their judgement.

These recent and ongoing actions of government departments, such as the planning and licensing departments demonstrate that in the absence of a clear and detailed government policy at a national level for ALL government departments to adhere to, we will not meet climate change targets however much we declare an emergency.

We all have a responsibility to pressure our politicians to create this clear government policy rapidly.

The Changing Climate is not waiting for us to catch up.

Watch out on our Facebook Page and Discussion Group Page to find out what happens on 2nd July.

– Fiona Vincent, SOS.

MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT – Local Elections : May 24th, 2019

MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT – Local Elections : May 24th, 2019

posted in: Environment, Skibbereen | 0

Save Our Skibbereen is currently seeking a Judicial Review of the planning permission granted to RTP Company for their 5000M² Thermoplastic Factory at Poundlick, Skibbereen. This development cannot go ahead while this legal process is ongoing.
An Bord Pleanála’s Inspector recommended refusing permission and made the following observations before his final conclusion :
1. The absence of specific information on potential pollutants, a baseline survey of existing air quality, and modelling of the impact of the proposal is highly unsatisfactory.
2. I conclude that the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the noise and emissions affecting air quality that would be generated by the operational proposal would be compatible with the residential amenities in the area.
3. The absence of specific information on potential air pollutants and a relevant assessment of the same precludes the applicant from demonstrating that public health would be safeguarded.

4. Based on the submitted information, particularly with respect to noise and air quality, the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the proposal would be compatible with these amenities and the wider public health of those residing in the area and so, in these circumstances, it would be premature for the Board to conclude that the proposed use constitutes a light industrial use.
5. To grant permission would be to risk a contravention of the said Local Area Plan, serious injury to the amenities of residential property in the vicinity of the site, and the jeopardising of public health.
6. The proposal would therefore be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
7. I, therefore, recommend that the proposal be refused.

Public health should be a concern for all candidates in the upcoming local elections. That it is being put at risk should be cause for concern. That Save Our Skibbereen has to go to the courts to seek the over turning of the planning permission is because Cork County Council and An Bord Pleanala have failed in their duty.

Alongside the public health risk, there are other risks to the existing jobs in Skibbereen and West Cork. At a time when many businesses are engaged in meetings, conversations and workshops in developing the tourism brand here, this development goes against all the marketing & branding of Skibbereen and West Cork as a place to visit, as a place that is the origin of high quality foods and drinks, and is a place where our environment can be experienced and enjoyed.
This development will do untold damage to all these sectors.

To date, we have had support from the following candidates who have come to our meetings, engaged in conversations and sought their own understanding of what this Plastic Factory could bring to Skibbereen and West Cork.
Cllr Paul Hayes – Sinn Fein – Skibbereen
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan – Fianna Fail – Skibbereen
Cllr Danny Collins – IND – Bantry
Holly McKeever Cairns – Social Democrat – SocDems – Bantry
Evie Nevin Social Democrat – SocDems – Skibbereen

All other candidates have expressed no interest in our campaign or have lobbied on behalf of RTP Company privately and/or publicly.
To choose silence on this issue is to choose the side of RTP Company over public health.
To not even engage with our campaign, which is supported throughout Skibbereen and West Cork, leaves us lost for words.
Public bodies, who exist to serve the public, must be held responsible when they cease to uphold this most basic of their responsibilities. Otherwise our system of democracy becomes but a vehicle for the profit of the few at the great cost of the many.
That this is of no concern to the majority of candidates in the upcoming elections is not just deeply disappointing, it is deeply threatening to the future well being of everyone who lives in Skibbereen, West Cork and beyond.

What is of importance to these candidates?
Is the health of our children not important?
Is public health not important?
Is the future of our tourism industry not important?
Is our food industry not important?
Are our waterways, marine life and Wild Atlantic Way not important?
Is the strategic direction of the development of Skibbereen and West Cork not important?
Is a Plastic Company more important?

We hope you contact all candidates and ask these questions. Democracy becomes a process we can all take part in during the elections. Make sure your vote counts.
It is what every candidate will be seeking.
Do not give it away lightly.

Many people in Skibbereen have been told falsehoods about this factory. To this day, people are still spreading rumours about the nature of this factory and pretending it is some recycling plant or that the emissions are less than those coming from a car.

An Bord Pleanála’s Inspector saw through all this nonsense. This is a dangerous development. Have no doubt about that.

SOS Youtube Channel

SOS Youtube Channel

posted in: About Us | 0

Enjoy a selection of films where SOS campaigners and supporters talk about the harm to the environment and public health that the proposed Plastic Factory will bring to Skibbereen and West Cork. See also an exclusive excerpt from the acclaimed documentary, Trashed, narrated by and starring Oscar Winning Actor Jeremy Irons.


SOS UPDATE : March 2019 – Spring has Sprung!

SOS UPDATE : March 2019 – Spring has Sprung!

Our running total of donations has been updated to include €2000 raised in Schull at the launch of the Save Our Skibbereen CD – we have raised €34,904 as of today. Our thanks to everyone involved in achieving this remarkable amount in a short few months.

Our CD is on sale throughout Skibbereen and Ballydehob. If anyone would like to stock it, please get in touch. It can also be purchased online at Save Our Skibbereen CD

Morning Rowers on the River Ilen

Our Judicial Review is underway in the courts as our application was granted. There will be more court dates, the next is early April, that will involve legalities on either side in preparation for a full hearing of the case. A full hearing might not happen for another 6-9 months. We will update you all as we find out ourselves. We leave legal matter to the experts and rely on their advice for how to communicate.

Our campaign’s focus will be on raising awareness, raising funds and publicizing any fund-raisers that are happening through us or through the generosity of volunteers.
If you would like to help raise money but don’t know how – do get in touch and we can help.
The next events are:
1. Hungry Hill Climb, March 31st – The Skibbereen Luncheon Club have generously decided to share the proceeds of this sponsored climb with us. You can contact us for details on how to sponsor climbers.
2. Darina Allen & Rory O’Connell’s Cookery Demonstration at The West Cork Hotel on Thursday, May 23rd.
See our website for tickets or purchase them directly at our stall in the Skibbereen Market or at The Riverside Café on North Street. All proceeds from that event will go to the campaign. Darina & Rory are incredibly supportive, and we hope to get a huge crowd that night.

We expect the plastic factory to be an important issue in the upcoming Local and European Elections. This factory is symptomatic of long-term decisions being rushed through without thought, without proper public consultation and without due consideration of the democratic responsibilities that all public bodies and politicians should adhere to. We hope that people think long and hard about who they want representing West Cork’s future.

To put a paltry number of jobs over and above the health of the local population is beyond irresponsible.
To prioritize the income of a privately-owned US Plastic Company over the income of all the local jobs dependent on our environment is beyond belief.
To stain the brand of ‘West Cork’ & ‘Skibbereen’ with a Plastic Factory currently is a form of negative and destructive advertising. The importance of the environment in news coverage is only going to increase. The media attention on plastic is only going to increase. We cannot be known as a destination that chose a Plastic Factory in 2018, 2019 or 2020. Our environment is what sells our food, our drink, and our tourism. It is our most valuable resource and any damage we do to it is just damage done to ourselves.
The environment is not some fashionable cause, it is the cause of life – it is the air we breathe – it is the food we eat – it is the water we drink. That this is not obvious is perhaps the greatest illusion of these times.

Ilen River – Home to Olympians & Otters

To see school-children strike, both locally, nationally and internationally, is to know that we are faced with existential choices that will have a deep and lasting effect on the health of all generations, now and in the future. That our politicians in power are slow to see the challenges ahead is deeply disappointing and points to a need for new voices or for old ones to change completely their current direction. It is why it has fallen on all of us to fight this ourselves and you all have risen to that challenge. You have donated to, supported, and made this campaign what it is today.

We face decades of pollution, decades of environmental degradation – lost decades – if this factory goes ahead. Our campaign is a long and difficult and costly process. But if we do not fight this in the courts, we will lose much more, and it will be lost until another generation takes up this challenge. That should not happen.

We know enough to do better, and we are educated enough to know better.

We need your continued support, your fundraising help and your donations if you can make them. This is an investment in all our futures. It is a long road. We’ve come a long way to get here and we have a long way still to go.
Spring has sprung and so must we all so that Summer is not far behind.


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