Local newspaper, Limerick Leader, has reported that the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) has asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to measure dioxin levels in local cattle herds. The measurements will form a baseline for continuing monitoring of dioxin levels, after fears were raised that any change in the plant’s fuel mix could lead to a rise in levels in the local environment.
The company denies that this will happen.
The HSE also said it would consult with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland over the levels of dioxin in food, as well as requesting information on cancer registrations in the local area, and continued updates on air quality around the plant.
The HSE involvement comes after meeting with local campaigners and presents another potential hurdle for Irish Cement’s plans at Mungret. The company is already awaiting a ruling by the Irish planning authority, on its planning permission to make the changes.
The local authority originally granted permission, but this was appealed by LAP to the planning board. A decision is expected in the new year.
More positively for the company, the Mungret plant was removed from the EPA’s list of National Priority Sites on its latest quarterly update in September. The list highlights those industrial plants with the poorest environmental compliance records. These sites are then the targets of enhanced enforcement activities.
Irish Cement declined to comment on Mungret’s removal from the list, but according to the EPA website, in order to be taken off the list a site must “address the environmental issues and restore compliance in order to reduce its score.”