Councillor Paddy McQuillan.
Councillor Paddy McQuillan says that a proposed Irish Cement community fund worth up to half a million Euro a year must be made available to community organisations in Drogheda unlike a similar fund in Indaver which is only open to groups in County Meath.
There has been much opposition to a proposed development in the Irish Cement factory Platin that will facilitate the further replacement of fossil fuels with alternative fuels, including a small percentage of hazardous materials.
Irish Cement already has permission to burn up to 120,000 tonnes of these alternative fuels at Platin and it has been recommended by An Bord Pleanala that the company be granted permission to burn up to an additional 480,000 tonnes per annum.
As part of this development it is proposed that a Community Gain Fund be established that will enable Platin to contribute towards the cost of environmental, recreational or community facilities which will be of benefit to the community in the area.
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A similar arrangement has existed with Indaver since they opened their plant next door to Platin ten years ago. Since then Indaver have contributed almost €2m to the community. However, all of these funds are distributed in the Bellewstown, Duleek, and Donore area.
Independent Councillor Paddy McQuillan has experience of dealing with Indaver and he says the company is strict as to where the monies from this funds go.
“When we were setting up Boomerang Youth Café (some years ago), we applied for funding from Indaver but were refused because we were not in their “catchment area” he said.
If the Platin fund comes on line it is a condition of their planning permission that they give €1 for every tonne of these alternative fuels used to a community fund.
With the kilns working at full capacity there is a potential of over €450,000 per annum for this Community Gain Fund to be distributed to groups in the “catchment area”.
McQuillan says that Drogheda should be included in this catchment area and that social groups, clubs, and charities should be able to apply for funds from this Community Gain Fund.
“Platin has historical ties to Drogheda and our people across generations” he said. “Many, many people and their families have worked there. It has been part of our industrial landscape for over 80 years. Drogheda is its catchment area, always was and always will be” he said.
“I believe that Drogheda’s environmental, recreational and community groups and facilities should be eligible to apply to his fund.”
McQuillan said he would be seeking to make contact with relevant people in Irish Cement to see how best to proceed with this matter.