306. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence to report on a proposed hazardous waste incinerator at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour which is close to the naval headquarters and operational base on Haulbowline Island; the impacts such an incinerator would have on Naval and Air Corps operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14058/16 asked on 02 Jun 2016)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Department of Defence, following consultation with the Air Corps and the Naval Service, recently made an oral submission to An Bord Pleanála regarding the proposed development of the waste to energy facility in Ringaskiddy. The submission identified two areas of concern, the proximity of the incinerator stack to Haulbowline and the difficulties in the evacuation of the island if necessitated by an incident at the incinerator facility.

The proximity of the stack of the waste-to-energy facility to the helicopter approach paths of Haulbowline Naval Base and Spike Island is a matter of concern due to the fact that this stack will be emitting significant amounts of exhaust gases and is seen by the Department as a potential hazard as it may in certain conditions render approaches by Air Corps helicopters into and out of Haulbowline Island as unsafe.

The second area of concern is due to the fact that Haulbowline Island is accessed by a bridge which is connected to the Ringaskiddy Road.  The proposed incinerator is to be built adjacent to this road, before Haulbowline.  Therefore, in the event of any accident at the incinerator, road access to and from Haulbowline is threatened.  This could in some instances hinder the operation of the Naval Base or in the event of a major incident necessitating local area evacuation, the evacuation of Haulbowline would be denied.