McDowell and consistency

April 20, 2007 at 9:23 am | Posted in Statements | Leave a comment

It is interesting to see Minister McDowell defending the rights of the community of Poolbeg against a proposed waste incinerator. He has apparently taken the rights of the local people there to health and safety as so important that he would not enter government if the incinerator went ahead and would continue to resist the project even if it is approved by An Bord Pleanala. He claims the incinerator is in the wrong place.

This line of argument is very familiar to those engaged in similar campaigns throughout the country. In a statement I issued in February I said:

why do the Minister and the government not acknowledge the same right of local democracy to the threatened communities of Bellanaboy and Rossport in North Mayo? They are similarly faced with the imposition of an unwanted project which they believe will threaten their health and safety. Surely the same standards should apply in Mayo as in Dublin? Democracy is indivisible and should be applied to all citizens not just to those who merely happen to be constituents of a government Minister.

The Minister should follow the logic of his own reasoning and support the people of North Mayo and elsewhere in their campaigns to preserve the integrity of their communities. The solution to all of these problems lies in enhanced local democracy. I have proposed that there should be:

  1. An obligatory pre-planning phase whereby developers of major infrastructural projects must engage meaningfully with communities affected by their projects and agree a development proposal.
  2. One independent body which oversees and reviews major infrastructural projects in order to ensure the use of best available technology, ecological viability and community consent.



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