Dumping Galway's rubbish problem

Eight times the size of the Fair Green

Eight times the size of the Fair Green. That's what Galway's super dump in Ballinasloe will measure, according to Mike O'Reilly, founder of an organisation pledged to oppose the designation.

As reported in this column earlier this year, the upgrading of Ballinasloe's landfill is one of the interim measures proposed to tackle Galway's waste-management problem. The MCOS group of Irish and Danish consultants, commissioned to study the issue, presented its short-term report to Galway County Council last week when the proposed £1 environmental levy on visitors to the Aran Islands dominated the headlines.

The progress report recommended closure of Tuam landfill before October for remediation; remediation and upgrading of Ballinasloe landfill, which would be expanded to take residual waste from the city and county until 2005; closure of Kilronan landfill on Inis Mor, with replacement by a new recycling initiative (funded by the £1 levy); application by Galway County Council for a two- to three-year extension to the landfill at Carrowbrowne on the city's outskirts until Ballinasloe is ready; and provision of recycling centres and employment of environmental education officers to work with schools, communities and industry on minimising waste.

The fact that an extension to use of Carrowbrowne is among the proposals is proof that the local authorities should not be trusted, according to Mr O'Reilly. Carrowbrowne is notorious for two reasons: it was meant to be a temporary landfill, and now also houses a travellers' halting site next to the dump. Living 400 yards from the proposed superdump in Ballinasloe, he does not believe that the landfill will be upgraded for temporary use only until 2005.


"It's not that we don't want to face up to waste disposal. But Ballinasloe is only going to be contributing 4 per cent of the rubbish to this site, and getting 96 per cent from the rest of the county. The entire town, including Portiuncula Hospital, is within three kilometres of this area. And we've no faith in the monitoring by the local authorities or the Environmental Protection Agency."

Public consultation to date has been a joke, in Mr O'Reilly's view. "It has been public information rather than consultation."

His new organisation, entitled Ballinasloe Against The Superdump, comprises 10 residents' associations and community organisations.