By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — After his hot favorite High Chaparral won the Irish Derby at the weekend, top racehorse trainer Aidan O’Brien has threatened to quit the country if an incinerator is built near his world famous Ballydoyle stables in County Tipperary.
O’Brien said the incinerator is planned for a site about 500 yards from the stables and the two operations could not work together because of health dangers for his staff and the multi-million euro racehorses he trains and breeds.
“Everybody knows that horses and cows and big animals like that take in 40 times more dioxins than human beings,” he said on RTE. “If that is the case, everybody knows the harm that incinerators do to human beings. causing cancer, birth defects and all that.
“If it is like that in human beings, the effect it would have on horses would be detrimental.”
The company promoting the development has said that the meat and bone meal that will be burned in the incinerator is a clean fuel and a natural byproduct of the food processing industry and there would be no unclean emissions.
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Planning permission for the plant was granted by South Tipperary County Council last month, but there have been a large number of appeals lodged with An Bord Pleanala.
But O’Brien was adamant that dioxin would be a danger and said incinerators are harmful to the environment.
“I wouldn’t want to raise my family in that kind of an environment,” he said, adding that there are a lot of options open to him all over the world if he chooses to move.
“Coolmore has a very big operation in America and I’d say that would be one definite option — that the operation would move to America rather than stay here in Ireland,” he said.
O’Brien’s colt High Chaparral delighted thousands of fans at the Curragh when he became only the third English Derby winner to follow up with a win in the Irish Derby.
The race was a personal triumph for O’Brien, who also saddled the runnerup Sholokov and the third-placed Ballingarry, giving him a 1-2-3 in the classic.
Last year, O’Brien completed the same Derby double with Galileo.
O’Brien, who took over the famous Ballydoyle operation established by his father, Vincent, is regarded as one of the top trainers in the world and his departure would be a major loss for the Irish bloodstock industry.
Last year, he had a world record 23 top-level racing wins.