An Bord Pleanála LNG Terminal Oral Hearing (21-28 January 2008)
Adam Kearney [Closing Statement]
Inspector, Ladies & Gentlemen, I have sat here for 8 days and have listened to almost all of what has been said. Having reflected last evening, the following comprises my concluding submission.
The project before us is a large scale hazardous development. It contains many risks and few long term jobs. This LNG terminal is unnecessary for Ireland, it will not guarantee security of supply but will merely enhance it. What is required as per the National Development Plan is a natural gas storage facility, a facility which is already in train at Kinsale. As long as this can meet the stated national reserve requirements as laid down by central government it should suffice as a buffer in the event of a temporary supply interruption. Our primary supply at the moment is from the UK, through interconnectors and supplemented by an existing indigenous supply from Kinsale. Additional supply capacity is due to come on stream from the Corrib field. For all our history with the United Kingdom I cannot envisage any credible circumstances where intentional disruption to our connectivity to the European gas grid would occur.
Tarbert and Moneypoint power stations have been mentioned on several occasions as somehow mitigating in favour of the siting of a LNG plant at this location. It should be realised that we are at a tipping point….. peak oil and gas will be upon us before long and we as a nation will be forced to seek alternatives…most likely in the form of renewable energy. In the next few decades Moneypoint and Tarbert will become relics of our dependence on Fossil Fuels, do we want to add yet another unsightly edifice destined for redundancy before it becomes operational…. The terms ‘Greenhouse Gas’ and ‘Climate Change’ are no longer the preserve of environmentalists… they are very real issues for the here and now! The EU have only this week published a proposed directive to be implemented in 2010 that would see us increase our use of renewable energy to 20% and depending on what transpires in Copenhagen in 2009 this may increase to 30%. These are tangible targets but targets that will not be realised by adding further to our fossil fuel based infrastructure.
With regard to the landbank it is incumbent upon Shannon Development & Kerry County Council to realise the full potential of these lands. In my opinion this can only be truly achieved by the adoption of a master plan or integrated area plan to encompass all of the lands and the foreshore. First and foremost the zoning designation should be addressed anew and only decided following a public consultation process with all stakeholders, following on from this an overarching integrated plan can then be compiled. However… Industrial zoning is not my preferred option… primarily and notwithstanding this current opportunist proposal Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for manufacturing and heavy industry has been usurped by Eastern Europe, China and other low cost economies. We are now very much a knowledge based economy… Financial Services, Research and development, innovation and leisure and tourism are sectors that are currently thriving: In light of this reality my suggestion would be for the rezoning of these lands to leisure/tourism. It is after all only a matter of months since a consortium wishing to construct a golf course with ancillary hotel and holiday accommodation at Carrigafoyle withdrew their interest due to land acquisition difficulties.
Surely this interest could be resurrected with Kilcolgan as a location of choice for such a labour intensive industry that would compliment and augment the receiving environment. I would propose a 36 hole golfcourse, 2 to 300 bedroom Hotel with spa and conference facilities and ancillary holiday village. Leisure activities to include but not limited to equestrian sports, marine activities including dolphin watching, nature walks etc. A newly constructed port could receive cruise liners if the scale of any self contained resort was sufficient to attract such interest. This proposal in this location could be successful and would create many hundreds of jobs directly and many hundreds more.. indirectly as well as attracting substantial amounts of tourists into the region. It would be sustainable, and create a long term revenue stream, it would also attract ancillary business to the area; this would accord more with the policies referred to this week than would a Seveso site employing 40 odd people at a sensitive riparian location. All that is required is the vision to make this happen by all concerned parties.
In summation Inspector and to use the inverse mantra to Mr Power this is the wrong project in the wrong place and most definitely at the wrong time. Thank You.