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Thursday, 25th May 2023

Residents shocked at IDA plan for steel plant in rural site

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A map showing the rural site at Killineer (outlined in red) which is the subject of a heavy industry planning application, which shocked residents say is out of keeping with the location and its original purpose. To help get your bearings, the circular structure in bottom right of the picture is the Rosehall roundabout.

Residents in Killineer, Waterunder and the Hill of Rath have expressed their shock at news of a planning application which could see a heavy industry cluster established at a rural site recently acquired by the IDA.

In a media statement issued this afternoon, the group says:

“Hibernia Steel Manufacturing has applied for permission to operate a large scale hot dip metal galvanising facility at the countryside location, a chemical process which will see emissions towers erected in an area which encompasses two adjacent reservoirs.

“The site at the newly-named Mell Business Park had previously been earmarked for light industry and warehousing.

“Louth County Council has rezoned the site General Employment and, only if they deemed it appropriate to the specific location, can they allow heavy industry to set up within that zone.

“Residents are adamant that heavy industry cannot in any way be considered as appropriate to the specific location as there is no similar industry anywhere in the area.

“Hibernia Steel intends to galvanise up to 36,000 tonnes of steel every year, six days a week, with the development requiring an Industrial Emissions License to operate.

“The Killineer and Rose Hall Reservoirs are located adjacent to the site giving rise to water pollution concerns from the proposed heavy industry.

“The planned storage of steel at the site will potentially cause run off of metal fragments into the aquifer which runs under the site and serves much of the local community in a wide area.

“The IDA masterplan for the remaining site is extensive and the residents have grave concerns that other heavy industry will be granted permission to set up there in the future if Hibernia Steel get the go ahead as the first business operating at the park. 

“There are also growing fears that as the ‘Employment Zone’ extends far beyond the site, that more and more heavy industry could begin to operate in the predominantly rural area

“The application is backed by the IDA and Enterprise Ireland and several potential locations in the county were offered to Hibernia Steel where heavy industry is already operating but these were turned down in favour of the countryside location at Mell.

 “At no time were residents consulted on this change of land use by the IDA or Louth County Council or indeed by Hibernia Steel.

“This was particularly shocking to the two families whose homes and gardens will be surrounded by the sixty foot plant and chimneys.

“Residents from Killineer, Waterunder and the Hill of Rath, in close proximity to the site are coming together to object to the unsuitability of developing a heavy industry zone so close to existing housing.

“They fear that allowing a heavy industry to locate on this site at Mell will automatically rule out many of the options mooted in the IDA masterplan, (e.g., an enterprise centre, an education facility or technological industry) and turn the entire site, by default, into a heavy industry area as any new application will be able to cite the Hibernia development as precedent.”

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