Hearing into plans for former steel plant in Cork Harbour

Wednesday 19 March 2014 19.22
Simon Coveney has pledged €40m towards the site's remediation
Simon Coveney has pledged €40m towards the site's remediation

The oral hearing into proposals for the remediation of the former Irish Ispat site in Cork harbour has concluded.  

The only submission was from the applicant, Cork County Council. 

A preliminary date for a decision has been set for 24 April next.

Earlier, details of the proposed remediation of Ireland's most toxic dump site by the council, on behalf of Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney, were outlined to Inspector Philip Davis of An Bord Pleanála.

Risk consultants acting for the council told the hearing they had not identified any risk for the wider community now or in the long term.

However, Dr Cecilia MacLeod of WYG said the former Irish Ispat site in Cork Harbour remains a health risk for anyone using it in its current state.

Dr MacLeod also said that potentially leachable contaminants remain in the waste.

Heavy metals association with steel works including mercury, arsenic and chromium 6 were found on the site at Haulbowline.

Regional director with RPS Larry O'Toole said they were recommending controlling the risk to human health by landscaping and capping and by a perimeter to limit water in and out of the site.

Over €52 million have already been spent on clearing the site  - removing the former steel works buildings and carrying out remedial works.

In 2012, the Government earmarked a further €40 million to make the site safe.

Sharon Corcoran, Director of Environmental Services with Cork County Council, said the overall plan is to turn it into a major public amenity area which would form part of the overall plan to develop the tourism potential of the harbour.

Irish Ispat, formerly Irish Steel, operated Ireland's only steel plant on the site for over 60 years.

It closed in 2001, with the loss of 400 jobs.