Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (Chase) chairperson, Mary O’Leary, said the group estimates it needs to €100,000 in place by July 12 and a request lodged by July 19 in order to proceed with the judicial action.
She added that between €150,000 and €200,000 will be needed to cover all legal costs associated with pursuing a judicial review of the 240,000 tonne-per-annum incinerator plans through the High Court.
A GoFundMe account set up by Chase after planning permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála for the controversial large-scale incinerator has raised almost €35,000 in just five days but the group has called for local community groups in the lower harbour area to set up their own fundraising events to increase the funds.
Approximately 250 people turned out at a highly charged meeting last night at Carrigaline Community Centre where angry residents from all over the lower harbour area expressed frustration at the decision to grant planning by An Bord Pleanála.
Ms O’Leary told those present: “We need the comfort of at least €100,000 in the kitty before we can go forward.”
Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath warned that Indaver will have the “crème de la crème” of legal backing and said Chase will need the same to further its cause.
Sinn Fein TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire added: “The key obstacle now is the judicial review and it is the correct course of action. The community is up for this.”
Chase is considering other courses of action such as blocking construction machinery from entering the Indaver site but says it will exhaust all legal avenues first.
Ms O’Leary said: “The stage we are at now is getting counsel’s opinion.
“That costs about €10,000. The next phase will be €40,000 and we will take it from there. There are lots of expenses. Court cases get deferred and every time that happens the solicitors still have to be paid. It’s going to cost between €150,000 and €200,000.
“We could go to the Supreme Court but the High Court is where we are at right now,” she added.
With just six weeks to go before the closing date for triggering a High Court hearing, there is a sense of urgency about the campaign.
A group of young women from Crosshaven calling themselves the “Crosswomen” have designed a smartphone barcode to make it easier for people to donate to the Chase’s GoFundMe page.
They have also had t-shirts and badges designed for sale at community fundraising events.
One man said he felt the lower harbour area had been “pillaged” by heavy industry while another expressed concern that cancer rates will increase.
Two TDs were present, Michael McGrath and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, while Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who is abroad, sent a representative from his office.
A number of county councillors including Marcia D’Alton (IND), Seamus McGrath (FF), Mary Rose Desmond (FF), Eoghan Jeffers (SF) and Michael ‘Frick’ Murphy (SF) also attended.
It’s an issue that has not only united the communities in the lower harbour, it has also brought competing parties together in opposition to the plans.
Mr McGrath said this will be vital in pushing the judicial process to its limit in the hope of stopping the incinerator.
“The fight is certainly not over,” he said.
“There is strength in unity and unity of purpose here. We are entering into a legal process and we will need the very same determination that has been shown all along. We are taking on a fight that really should never have been taken on. It has to be a wider battle if it is to be won,” he added.