Republican News · Thursday 18 May 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Mayo Sinn Féin urges clean, green option

``A clean dioxin free environment is the envy of all EU states - Why do we want to throw it away?

This morning, Thursday, 18 May, Mayo Sinn Féin will present their submission on the Draft Plan for the Connaught Region to the council.

``We make a radical critique of M.C. O'Sullivan's draft report, which we submit to the councillors is an inadequate report which fails to consider or cost any alternatives to the one policy of thermal treatment of a major fraction of the region's waste stream,'' says Vincent Wood from Castlebar.

``It is inexcusable, given the well known unpopularity of incineration, the fact that a vast majority of people find it quite unacceptable, that the consultants should have gone about selling us `Thermal Treatment', without question, cost-benefit analysis, or even a consideration of the case against. The days of accepting unquestioningly the edicts of the minister, or the so-called experts, are long gone.''

``All of us in Sinn Féin took quite a bit of trouble to put a fairly full submission together because we think the issue is of the greatest of importance, especially to this region, with its dependence upon retaining a clean environment for agriculture, fishing and tourism,'' says Dave Keating from Westport.

``And waste management raises all the key issues of western development - the very survival of the small farmer and the rural communities; the issues of community participation, democracy and the powers of local government; and the key issue of whether public/private partnerships are suitable vehicles to meet social needs for a waste management strategy.

``Crucially, waste management raises the issue of the equality agenda itself, which stipulates that policies should not discriminate against the disadvantaged within our region, no more than they should discriminate between different regions across the country.

``M.C. O'Sullivan's proposals in the draft plan continue with the same old story, which has discriminated against the disadvantaged regions, the very policies which councillors have let decimate the West in the past.

``What point is there for us in the West to be drawing down additional EU funding for the development of the region, when our key asset and comparative advantage over the EU, a clean green environment, is to be thrown away, carelessly, just because Minister Dempsey thinks that burning up trash is the best way out of it?

``What point is there for a national agreement to share the wealth of the Celtic Tiger, the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, if without question local authorities go ahead to tax the people, through household waste charges which themselves far exceed the proposed increases in real income of the working people? Waste Management is at the very heart of local government.''

A copy of the submission can be obtained from

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