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Dublin: 18 °C Sunday 31 May, 2020

Government to review storage of ‘toxic materials’ near homes

The Environment Minister also confirmed last night that three investigations will be carried out into the cause last weekend’s fire at a west Dublin recycling plant.

Firefighters fighting the blaze on Saturday morning.
Firefighters fighting the blaze on Saturday morning.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE CAUSE OF last weekend’s blaze at a west Dublin recycling plant is due to be investigated by the fire service, An Garda Síochána, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan confirmed to the Dáil last night that these probes will be launched as soon as the fire is completely extinguished.

A review of the “criteria associated with storing toxic materials near residential areas” is also planned, once the investigations are complete.

Smoke is still rising at the Oxigen plant at Ballymount, days after it was brought under control by fire services.

“Once the situation on the site has been brought under full control, the EPA will take steps to commence a full investigation in the normal way,” the Minister said.

It is too early at this stage to say what was the exact cause of the fire. The Garda Síochána and the fire service will be moving to commence their own separate investigations into the circumstances of the incident.

75 fire fighters were required at one point to battle the blaze, with TDs involved in last night’s debate commending their efforts.

Fianna Fáil’s Enviroment Spokesperson Barry Cowen said local residents had been “terrified”.

“The smoke that darkened the skies and shrouded Dublin in a toxic haze on Saturday terrified many local residents caught in the middle of it,” he said, with Sinn Féin’s Sean Crowe questioning the health effects it could have on these people.

“Are they seriously suggesting that people stay indoors for a week or more? Do they believe that the noxious and dangerous fumes will not get into residents homes and lodge there?”

This fire should be a wake-up call for the Government and the local authority.

Labour TD Michael Conaghan called for a “rigorous review” to be carried out of all waste plants.

The EPA are continuing to monitor air quality in the area.

Read: Ballymount blaze rated a ‘Category 1′ incident by EPA >

Effects: Some parcel delivery disruption as An Post depot remains closed >

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Nicky Ryan

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