Support opposing the development of a major waste facility at Poolboy in Ballinasloe has garnered further traction following the hosting of a virtual public meeting by the concerned ‘Ballinasloe Says No’ group in recent times.
Public representatives, complemented by members of the local business, education and sports community, united with a sole purpose to voice their cohesive opposition to the infill permit application under review by Galway County Council to the proposed development.
In her capacity as Secretary of the ‘Ballinasloe Says No’ group, Roscommon-Galway Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan, detailed the ongoing activity undertaken as the quest to halt waste facility site development proceeded.
“As a group, we challenged the infill permit application in 2018 to a successful win at the High Court under the Habitat’s Directive. A subsequent application to operate the transfer station drew a large community response with over 2,000 submissions to Galway County Council and a decision that there was potentially an environmental impact with regard to the suggested location.
“The previous High Court order in 1999 promised a recreation park for the town as part of the remediation of the landfill site which may not be realised for another decade. We don’t have any park in Ballinasloe, our town does not have any safe locations in which to walk or cycle.
“There has been much recent investment in Ballinasloe. Funds have been afforded towards streetscape enhancement and festive lighting, complemented with an allocation from the Just Transition Fund pertaining to the creation of remote working hubs in the town.
“Ballinasloe is also strong contender on the TII Galway to Athlone Cycleway route and public lands option along the Grand Canal route. This is the type of future investment we want for our area,” Senator Dolan commented.
With such positivity presently prevalent within the town, Senator Dolan, asserted her desire to have a united opposition approach towards the proposed Poolboy development.
“We say NO to a continuing stream of waste vehicle transport through the streets of our town causing toxic air pollution. We are fighting for the health, safety and future of Ballinasloe.
“Submissions to Galway County Council opposing this proposed development are permitted until January 15 and can be dropped off at my constituency office on Society Street or at locations within the town, namely Super Valu, Corrib Oil and Eurospar,” Senator Dolan emphasised.
Chairperson of the ‘Ballinasloe Says No’ group, Dr Vincent Parsons outlined the health impacts of this particular development on the local community.
“The proposed site for a major waste facility in Ballinasloe is totally unsuitable on several grounds. It is adjacent to the old landfill which is in danger of being disturbed.
“Access is through the streets and residential areas with trucks passing by Portiuncula University Hospital and schools. Schoolchildren will be competing with 30 tonne trucks. The site is also in close proximity to family homes and housing estates.
“These waste facilities are associated with serious health hazards. Online search highlights the increased incidence of cancers, birth defects and neuromuscular disorders. Respiratory disease such as bronchitis and asthma are more common.
“This development was already stopped by High Court Order in 2018 based on the potential adverse effects on the River Suck Callows SPA. The waste operator has now reapplied. Therefore, it is vital we stand together and stop this proposed waste facility development,” Dr Parsons stated.
Representing Ballinasloe Area Community Development (BACD ), Town Team Leader, Anita Killeen, noted the intention to make Ballinasloe a low carbon urban centre in the coming times.
“We can feel the energy created within the town as a result of our recent Christmas lights initiative. Our next project is to make Ballinasloe a sustainable energy community with SEAI and our target is to become a low carbon urban centre and to support Galway County Council achieve their Climate Action targets by reducing our carbon emissions by seven percent. These are our projects, how can we reduce our carbon footprint with a continuous stream of waste transport vehicles coming through the centre of our town,” Anita asserted.
Concluding, Eoghan Kenny, an entrepreneur and leader of The Pulse Club, noted the detrimental impact such a waste facility development would have on Ballinasloe.
“No means ‘no’, there is no benefit for Ballinasloe, this proposed development will not bring new business to town, it will not bring tourism to town. We need to attract new business to the town and the proposed development at Poolboy will only be a deterrent,” Eoghan stated.