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Big business and FF trample on right to dissent

27/02/06
Big business and FF trample on right to dissent

PROPOSALS to fast-track major infrastructure projects through a special division of An Bord Pleanála are a denial of democracy. If Environment Minister Dick Roche’s proposals become law they will represent the triumph of big business over legitimate dissent. Now challenges to major infrastructure projects are being stigmatised as unpatriotic. In future, will they become illegal? Will we see more people going to jail (as in the Corrib gas pipeline saga) in order to get legitimate concerns addressed? I am a resident of north County Dublin where most people are infuriated at being asked continually to carry the infrastructure burden for other parts of the greater Dublin area. North County Dublin is being saddled with the largest prison in the country, a massive new municipal dump to replace an existing massive municipal dump and, lately, Portrane has been proposed for a mega-sewage treatment plant.
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The planning proposals put forward by Mr Roche will make it difficult, if not impossible, to point out that it is unfair to ask north County Dublin to carry the burden of treating the waste water of large swathes of west and south Dublin, in addition to Kildare, Wicklow and Meath. After all, the costal towns of north County Dublin have in place, or have already planned, sufficient capacity to treat their own waste water for the next 25 years. The Strategic Infrastructure Bill is an attempt to foist unpleasant projects on small, defenceless communities without having to bother with such cumbersome procedures as seeking planning permission through the local authority. The real purpose of the legislation is to ensure builders and developers encounter as few problems as possible in their desire to rush ahead with sustained, rather than sustainable, development. Must Fianna Fáil always be so compliant when the needs of the construction industry are at stake? The proposal to fast-track major infrastructure projects is a worrying development. Recent history has shown that politicians have been driven as much by personal interest as by democratic responsibility. Name and Address supplied.

Posted Date: 
26 February 2006 - 10:32pm