Mr. Brendan Kelly
Republic of Ireland
BY REGISTERED POST
The European Parliament
Members Activities Division
Petition dated February 1st 2002 to The European Parliament regarding Celtic Waste plans
for a super dump in the Kilconnell area of East County Galway in The Republic of Ireland.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I wish to petition the European Parliament regarding the possibility of having a
"super dump" for the whole of Connacht forced onto the small local community I
According to reports I have heard from trusted neighbours, a company called Celtic
Waste have plans (which are now in an advanced stage I am told) to purchase land from five
local residents - at prices which are far above the normal market value.
Apart from socially stigmatising the whole local area in a very major way, I believe
that if this project is allowed to go ahead, there are likely to be all sorts of very
serious environmental problems as well: such as (for example) air and water pollution, and
major road traffic problems.
Some simple calculations (based on information which I believe is accurate) suggest
that if the Celtic Waste plans are implemented, they are likely to make abnormally large
financial profits from this local site. I estimate that at a charge of EUROS 100 per
tonne of rubbish which they dump, 30 tonnes per truck load, and 150 daily truckloads,
Celtic Waste stand to make gross profits in the region of EUROS 450,000 PER DAY -
with relatively little expense for them in the way of running costs. Leaving aside the
five people who look set to profit from the sale of their land to Celtic Waste, the rest
of the people in my community will get little or nothing that I know of in the way of
benefits. For the rest of us living in my community, it looks as though this project will
be almost entirely a matter of extremely serious drawbacks and long term disadvantages.
On November 16th 2001, I attended a public meeting in Kilconnell which was sponsored by
a local group of people opposed to Celtic Waste building a super dump in the area. With
the exception of Junior Minister Mr. Noel Tracey T.D., this particular meeting was
attended (as I recall it) by ALL of the local and central government politicians who have
been elected to represent the people of East Galway. One after another they each stood up
and related that there was NOTHING they could do to help the local people: because
of the Waste Management (Amendment) Bill 2001 - which has since became law, and which
removes power from local politicians to have ANY say in the location of such super dumps.
Instead, it seems that final responsibility for such major decisions (which adversely
affect local communities such as mine) has now been transferred entirely to unelected
local government managers.
In so far as I can judge, the "Waste Management (Amendment) Bill 2001"
(WHICH HAS NOW PASSED INTO LAW) is in direct conflict with Article 28A of the written Constitution
of The Republic of Ireland.
Item 1 of Article 28A of our written Constitution clearly reads as follows:
"The State recognises the role of local government in providing a forum for the
democratic representation of local communities, in exercising and performing at local
level powers and functions conferred by law and in promoting by its initiatives the
interests of such communities."
All things considered, and as I trust you will understand, I cannot help feeling that
the conflicting situation I have tried to very briefly outline above represents some kind
of political and legal corruption on a MASSIVE scale. Also, and more importantly, I
believe that if there is not some kind of very efficient intervention by The European
Parliament, the present situation may lead on to massive financial corruption at some
later date: assuming of course that something of this nature has not already taken place
Also, and according to statements made at the November 16th 2001 meeting in Kilconnell
by local politician Mr. Paul Connaughton T.D., the Government has already paid millions of
EUROS of taxpayers money to a firm of waste management consultants named "MC
OSullivan & Company Consulting Engineers" for the set of plans which
apparently gave rise to the Waste Management (Amendment) Bill 2001.
The above statements are made by me in the full knowledge that a recent 40 page
Evaluation Report produced by a European Union expert group "has found that there may be far greater
levels of corruption in Ireland than officially admitted by the Government" - as reported on the front page of the January 11th 2002
edition of the Irish Examiner Newspaper.
I feel I should make it clear that, in my experience, it would be impossible for
me (or anybody else in my local community) to find lawyers here in the Republic of Ireland
who would challenge the validity of the new waste management law which appears to be in
breach Article 28A of the Constitution. Consequently, I believe it is essential
that I now seek help urgently with this problem from outside of The Republic
of Ireland (through The European Parliament).
I feel I should also inform you of the following points:
1) As a direct result of the anger and frustration that has been building up in
me over a period of years regarding several local environment issues of the kind outlined
above, I intend to run for election as a Green Party candidate in the May 2002 General
Election here in the Republic of Ireland. I was nominated to run for The Green Party
on January 19th 2002, and I am at present waiting for the ratification of my nomination by
the Green Party Head Office in Dublin.
In the event that for any reason my nomination is not ratified by the Green Party,
it is my intention to then run as an "independent" candidate in the May 2002
2) Research information I have looked at suggests that there is no need
whatsoever for super dumps in East Galway, and I am at present looking into the
possibility of my own parish (Bullaun & New Inn) and two neighbouring parishes
(Kilconnell and Cappatagle) looking after ALL of their own waste material. There
are at present two local urban recycling schemes in operation (one in Galway City, and one
in Ballinasloe Town) which I believe might be possible to adapt for rural purposes.
For a limited period of time at least, the kind of scheme I have in mind probably would
involve the use of a very small landfill site in my own area. Subject to receiving
the necessary planning permission, I believe I could find such a site, and I have a
definite place in mind. If the experimental scheme I am thinking about proved successful,
I see no reason why similar schemes could not be replicated in most parishes throughout
East Galway, and indeed throughout the whole of Connacht. In this way, I believe the
alleged need for a super dump in any part of Connacht could be completely avoided.
3) The land Celtic Waste has earmarked for their huge Kilconnell rubbish dump is
very closely surrounded by numerous ancient heritage monuments (which are formally
listed), and it comes right up to the Esker Riada ridge - which, from a human
history point of view, is probably Irelands most important natural monument.
Allowing for the very close relationship between the Esker Riada and the sixth century
monastic settlement of Clonmacnoise - which for a period of several centuries
following its foundation was one of the main centres of education in the world of that
time - this particular natural monument also seems to be very important in terms of
overall European social development.
In addition, the historically
important Woodlawn House is within a mile or so of the proposed Celtic Waste super
dump. Though it has been unoccupied since the 1970s, Woodlawn House is nevertheless
widely seen as one of the best examples in Ireland of homes lived in by members of the
ruling British aristocracy during the period in history between the late 1600s and
the 1920s. Among many other interesting things, this attractive building was
occupied for a period of time by the Irish Republican Brotherhood around the time of the
"War of Independence" (in the 1920s).
4) Leading headlines in todays edition of the Connacht Tribune
Newspaper relate that local Police Superintendent Frank Gunther is investigating the
source of threatening letters received recently in the post by two local people who
oppose the Celtic Waste plans for a super dump in our area. It seems the anonymous letters
in question contain threats of physical violence. It is also stated in the same article
that down payments of EUROS 500,000 have been paid by Celtic Waste to the present owners
of the land they plan to use for the local dump. To me, this looks like an example of how
unfair law, mixed up with greed, can - given the chance - lead on to violence of different
5) In recent years, the local area has already hosted a large rubbish dump (in
New Inn): just three miles or so from the new super dump Celtic Waste plan to construct.
We do not know what (in the way of toxic substances) is at present seeping out of this
disused dump: because, we do not
know what went into it ???
This is a matter which I hope the European Union will have thoroughly investigated
before too long: particularly as there are responsible medical research reports now in
circulation which suggest that the risk of very serious birth defects (including
Downs Syndrome) is some 40% higher for pregnant women living within three kilometres
of hazardous waste landfill sites. (Source of the information in this paragraph: Dick
Ahlstrom, Science Editor, January 25th 2002 edition of The Irish Times Newspaper.)
My hope is that this letter will - without undue delay - give rise to a full
scale investigation by the European Parliament of what I strongly suspect is a corrupt
arrangement between "big business" and "big government" to create huge
benefits for themselves through the avoidable use of super dumps. And, in the process, it
appears that the group of people concerned (which includes senior State lawyers) have no
qualms whatsoever about SYSTEMATICALLY depriving ordinary citizens such as myself of the
benefits and protection provided for ALL citizens in our written Constitution: through the
creation of a waste management law which appears to remove a very important part of our
Constitution. (As you may already know,
changes to our written Constitution require a national referendum, and there has NOT
been any referendum in this case.)
For the immediate future, I would be very grateful if you could take careful note the
contents of this letter, and let me have a written acknowledgement of receipt for
it within the coming 14 days please.
Mr. Brendan Kelly.
Election candidate for the May 2002 General Election in The Republic of Ireland.