'Nobody is brave enough to stop city incinerator,' says actor Jeremy Irons
Actor Jeremy Irons has appealed for Ireland to radically re-think its approach to waste management.
The Oscar-winning actor urged Ireland not to sanction waste incinerators and to do more to promote recycling as he attended a special screening of his documentary, Trashed, at University College Cork (UCC).
Mr Irons is a committed environmentalist and he urged Ireland to "think very carefully" before proceeding with a giant incinerator at Ringsend in Dublin.
"We are building an enormous incinerator which is the most significant step back for the whole country.
"It is something that no-one has been brave enough to stop. Incineration is a very dangerous way to get rid of our rubbish."
"When we look at trash we need to create less of it and recycle more of it.
"My film Trashed is all about raising awareness for people about a problem which we put in a bin and a lorry takes it away and then we forget all about it.
"But everything that comes out of the chimney of an incinerator can be dangerous. Everything that goes up, eventually must come down.
"It either lands in the sea or the land and it can then enter the food chain," he added.
His film was made in the Middle East and Asia but he warned it carried stark lessons for Ireland and Europe also.
"We have to press our councillors and our Government.
"You should not have to pay to recycle in Ireland. We must encourage people to recycle.
"We have to be so careful because we are responsible for protecting our planet for the next generation," he said.
"Why are there enormous Government subsidies to build incinerators?," he asked.
The British actor and his Dublin-born wife Sinead Cusack have been a long-time residents in west Cork.
Married for 36 years, the couple decided to purchase and renovate a medieval castle over a decade ago.
In 1991 he was awarded a Best Actor award for his leading part in the film Reversal Of Fortune.
Mr Irons challenged claims that incinerators have absolutely no public health implications.
"There is a town in France which we cite in the movie where the incinerator has closed after 20 years and people are dying of cancer - 26pc of the population have cancer."
He now hopes to have a special edit of Trashed made for Irish and European schools.