Stud farm predictions on incinerator dismissed

 

Predictions of impending doom for Irish bloodstock industry should a hazardous waste incinerator be located in north Kildare would not stand up, according to the legal representative of the developer, Thermal Waste Managment.

TWM is appealing Kildare County Council's refusal of permission for the plant.

After some of Ireland's most prominent racehorse trainers and breeders outlined their grave concerns about the facility planned for Kilcock at a Bord Pleanala hearing, Mr Michael O'Donnell, for TWM, said their submissions were in a similar vein to those made at a hearing some years on a proposed landfill in Kill, Co Kildare.

There was talk then of top stallions being withdrawn from the country, but the development went ahead and the bloodstock industry was not detrimentally affected.

Earlier, Mr Stephen Collins, manager of Derrinstown Stud, which is owned by one of racing's most famous owners, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid alMaktoum, said that to site the facility where proposed was the equivalent of locating an incinerator in the middle of a premier wine-growing area of France.

The proposal had left his business in a precarious position. "We would have to give serious consideration to the possibility of having to move our roster of stallions to our farms in the UK to protect the animals' health, welfare and fertility," Mr Collins said.

The area was ideal for horsebreeding and rearing because of its clean environment, climate and soil, said Mr John Tuthill of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, who owns Owenstown Stud in Maynooth.

On behalf of 65 stud farms, he said the industry was subject to rumour, which meant that even if the incinerator was not "belching out a toxic cloud" it would have a negative impact. "Once the word goes out the incinerator is to be built, the bloodstock industry in this area is effectively closed. The reputation of our bloodstock industry for being healthy and the best in the world will be brushed aside," he said.

Mr Tuthill read statements from bloodstock agencies indicating they would take their business elsewhere and from trainers underlining the importance of the area.

Mr Dermot Weld believed there was "probably no other stretch of land in Ireland that has produced more top-class racehorses over the past 50 years". Mr John Oxx indicated that records showed that "in every decade of the 20th century there were European classic winners bred on stud farms in the locality".

The incinerator was not simply an issue for its immediate surrounds but one of county-wide importance, said Mr Shane Dolan of Kildare Horse Development Company, which is promoting Kildare as "the thoroughbred county". If even one breeding establishment in the vicinity of the incinerator site had to close or relocate there would be a domino-effect on other adjoining stud farms, he said.

Ms Breda Fay, principal of Scoil Coca Naofa, which is beside the proposed site at Boycetown, said 240 families sending children to the school already had to negotiate an extremely busy road. The possibility of additional heavy traffic associated with the incinerator was "of grave concern".