The proposed incinerator to be sited near Duleek in Co Meath may end up accepting waste from across the country and not just from the north-east region.

The news came today at the beginning of an Environmental Protection Agency hearing into the licensing of the State's first municipal incinerator.

The head of Indaver Ireland, John Ahern, told the hearing that currently the incinerator would only be accepting waste from the region.

However, under questioning from some objectors he considered that it was possible rules would be changed and waste could be accepted from across Ireland.

Earlier, one objector claimed that the plant would be built on top of an underwater supply, and if there were an accident it could affect up to 100,000 people.

But Mr Ahern rejected this assertion, saying that he could not envisage the circumstances under which such an accident could take place.

The proposed €85 million facility at Carronstown in Co Meath has already secured planning permission.

The proposed incinerator is due to deal with 150,000 tons of waste per year and 20,000 tons of recycling.

Senior EPA Inspector Marie O'Connor is chairing the hearing which was expected to last around two weeks, but may now only last five days.

Senior staff from Indaver Ireland and members of the No Incineration Alliance group are also attending the hearing.