The following are statements or otherwise, in December 2018, from all West Cork elected representatives regarding our campaign and the proposed RTP Company Plastic Factory at Poundlick, Baltimore Road, Skibbereen, Co. Cork. Requests for statements and/or invitations to our Public Meeting were sent to all representatives in early December 2018.
Michael Collins TD
“I attended all meetings that I was invited to so I could establish for myself if there was a danger to the Skibbereen public with this planned Thermoplastic factory, I am in no doubt after listening to the many presentations made at these meetings that there could be a danger to public Health.
I have also called on the Company in question RTP who have been in West Cork well before concerns were raised and whom I have never met to come to West Cork and relay any fears the people of Skibbereen have but to date they have not come here which leaves me in the position of supporting the Save our Skibbereen campaign for the long-term safety of those who live or like myself have a business in Skibbereen.
Skibbereen is a town which has developed in a positive way over that past number of years and we need to all unite to make sure this recovery continues.”
Jim Daly TD – Minister for Mental Health and Older People
“To whom it concerns
I wish to confirm from the outset that the promoters of this project who share a surname and have Drinagh connections have never approached me for advice, support or assistance of any form or had any communication with me re this development.
I note the decision of An Bord Pleanala, and as a citizen of the state, accept the rule and law that applies to planning in this country. As a public representative, I have no role or function in deciding who should, or should not, be granted planning permission.
Public Representatives would be rightly lambasted if politicians decided who gets permission to build what and where. While I can make representations on any application for myself or on behalf of the public, or indeed, as can any member of the public themselves, I have not made representations for or against this development. It should be noted that I have received contact from many individuals both against and in favour of the development, and have advised both sides that the matter will be adjudicated upon by an independent board. I, as one citizen of West Cork who could possibly hold one view, should not have the power to decide on the fate of this, or any other development.
There is much divided opinion on this issue in Skibbereen. As a public representative it is impossible for me to represent the views of both sides in this debate.
I have queried with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) if they have concerns regarding this proposed development, as I understand it is environmental concerns that are most feared by the general public. They have advised me that they have no such reservations from an environmental impact point of view, and that any discharge from the proposed plant, either by air or other medium, is below the level that requires environmental monitoring (copy of letter available on request).
I have never objected to any planning application in West Cork in my 15 years as a public representative for the area. I have worked night and day to promote development and opportunity, job creation and tourism in to the region. I accept people have valid fears, however, people recognise that this country is extremely bureaucratic and top-heavy when it comes to regulation and environmental protection measures. A development that would injure the environment and amenity of West Cork would not be authorised to proceed by the EPA. I trust the judgement of the EPA who have considered this application.
I live in Clonakilty, home to a plastic factory, and in my 15 years as an elected representative I have never received a complaint regarding this facility.
An Bord Pleanala is an independent planning body operating at arm’s length from the Government. The general Public should either accept this premise or not, but unfortunately cannot have it each way. Government Ministers and TDs should never decide who can, or cannot build new developments. If we accept the bona fides of an independent planning authority such as an Bord Pleanala, then we have to accept their decisions also.
There is, of course, the option of a judicial review available to those who do not wish to see this development progress. Again, the judicial process is rightly independent of politics and politicians. As I have no role or function in either the decisions made by An Bord Pleanala or the Courts, this is not a matter that I will be making any further public comment on.”
Margaret Murphy O’Mahony TD
Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has never attended any of our public meetings but has issued the following statement and has been in touch directly with the campaign recently. This is statement is taken from https://www.fiannafail.ie/skibbereen-plastics-factory-is-a-threat-to-tourism-and-aquaculture-industries-murphy-omahony/
“As a local public representative, I have, in the past, called for new jobs, new businesses and new investment in West Cork. However, this support doesn’t come with a blank cheque. With investment, comes a responsibility to ensure that nothing is done to harm the environment and other industries.
West Cork is heavily dependent on both the tourism trade and on fishing. This factory, to my mind, poses an unacceptable risk to both, and must be opposed. RTP / Daly Products must understand that while we want jobs in the community, they cannot come at any price.
I am very concerned about potential run-offs from the factory seeping into the local ground water supply, thereby risking both inland and sea-fishing.
In addition to their commercial importance, our rivers and ocean are a major pull factor for tourists visiting Skibbereen and the wider West Cork region.
RTP must properly engage with the local community, who are now up in arms about this project, and hold a number of public meetings to address their concerns on this matter.
I know that local groups are now actively seeking a judicial review of the Cork County Council and An Bord Pleanála decisions to grant planning permission. This will be a tall undertaking, but in the meantime, RTP must start to engage better locally.”
Councillor Danny Collins
Danny Collins has attended many of our meetings and has been supportive of the campaign to date.
Councillor Paul Hayes
“As you know, I’ve attended the previous public meetings and intend to do so again this evening. I fully support the effort to seek a judicial review.”
Councillor Mary Hegarty
Councillor Hegarty has never attended any of our meetings and has issued no statement.
Councillor Joe Carroll
Councillor Carroll has never attended any of our meetings but issued the following statement.
“Thank you for your email and thank you for kindly giving me an opportunity to make a statement in relation to the decision by An Bord Pleanala last week.
From the outset, when a factory was first proposed for Skibbereen on that particular site ( an IDA site since 1974 ), it was widely known that I, as a public representative, believed this would be a welcome development for the area and hopefully bring jobs to our town. May I point out this was also the belief of all other local representatives in our area at that time.
But I also made it very clear then, and every time I have been questioned since, that I would not welcome any industry that would negatively impact on people’s lives in this area. With that in mind, as I am not qualified to assert whether or not the factory would be suitable for the area, I was happy to leave the decision to the planners – who we, as councillors, put our trust in. It is very important to note that councillors have no say in planning matters or decisions.
It is also important to note that our planning system provides another higher level of judgement which is available to any person or body that is not happy with the decision made by planners – that, of course, is An Bord Pleanala.
They have been known in recent years to be very strict and prohibitive with regards any decision that may be seen to adversely affect the environment in any way. And I made it very clear that I would accept any decision made by An Bord Pleanala in this regard.
I now note that you and your committee are progressing your objections further by seeking a judicial review. I want to wish you and the committee the very best with your campaign, and I very much hope that a positive outcome will be achieved for our area very soon.
Again thank you for inviting me to make a statement. With regret I will not be able to attend the meeting tonight.”
Councillor Declan Hurley
Councillor Hurley has never attended any of our public meetings.
“Unfortunately, I have to send my apologies as I am unable to attend the meeting tonight due to another work commitment.”
Councillor Christopher O’Sullivan
Councillor O’Sullivan attended the public meeting on December 13th and spoke at length. He also issued the following statement.
“I also wish to put it on record that I do support the committee’s aim to seek a judicial review.”
Councillor Patrick Murphy
Councillor Murphy has never attended any of our meetings and has issued no statement.
Councillor John O’Sullivan
Councillor O’Sullivan has never attended any of our meetings and has issued no statement.
Senator Tim Lombard
Senator Lombard has raised the issue of the factory in the Seanad and questioned An Bord Pleanála’s decision as reported in link below. He has also been in touch directly with the campaign and we hope to be meeting with him in person in the New Year.
Please make your opinions regarding the factory and our campaign known to your public representatives by email, letter, phone calls or conversations in person.