Cabinet has yet to decide about construction of £30m incincerator


AS the BSE crisis worsens, the Cabinet has yet to decide on the construction of a £30 million national incinerator.

Three months ago the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Yates, announced that a special inter departmental committee had been established to consider the feasibility of the project. It would be used to destroy meat and offal from cattle and sheep that might be infected with the BSE virus.

The special committee reported to the Government on its findings last week. It was agreed that Mr Yates and the Minister for the Environment, Mr Howlin, should consider the matter further and report back to Cabinet.

Last week's findings by a British medical team that BSE can be transmitted to humans as a special form of CJD has given new impetus to the project.

When it was first proposed, the concern of the Government related to the culling of entire cattle herds, because of the possibility that BSE could be transmitted from cows to their calves. Since last March, all herds in which BSE was discovered, as well as herds from which BSE cows originated, have been destroyed.

Apart from the destruction of these animals, it may become necessary to destroy all offal from meat factories, as measures are taken to prevent the feeding of bone meal to ruminants and other species.

Because British incinerators are fully occupied in destroying material from cattle herds there, a ban has been imposed on the export of Irish hospital wastes to plants in that country. Last week, arrangements were made for the destruction of Irish hospital waste in the Netherlands.