Retired Donegal Judge Seán Mac Bride has declared his opposition to
Irish Water’s controversial Moville Sewerage Scheme, lending his support to the ongoing campaign against the Utility's proposal.
Speaking exclusively to Donegal Now, the eminent legal figure,
described Irish Water’s proposal as “half-baked.” He also congratulated local environmental group, Community For a Clean Estuary (CFCE) on its recently released film, ‘Save The Foyle.’
Judge Mac Bride said he was “very impressed” with CFCE’s critique of Irish Water’s proposed Moville Sewerage Scheme.
He added: “CFCE furnished me with all of the reports going back 20
years, going back to the original application by Donegal County Council for a sewerage system in Moville. It appeared to me, the discharge of foul water or wastewater, into the Lough would be diametrical to the best interests of the people and indeed the area, particularly because the discharge would wash back in along the lovely beaches we have here and would pollute the beaches, would destroy our environment and would also destroy our tourist industry.
“From a health point of view, an ecological point of view, and from a
tourist point of view, in the bests interests of people, it is totally the
wrong place to discharge. I am firmly of the view, we should have the
sewerage treated properly and discharged out into the North Atlantic.
“The original plan was very good, where they had a scheme for the
entire area of the Parish of Moville, including Moville and Greencastle.
Regrettably, the plan now being proposed by Irish Water is a very
restricted, watered down version. It includes only the Moville end of The Parish.
“It doesn’t even include some of the more recent urban housing estates
in the area of Moville, which was formerly rural, up in Gulladuff, Ard Na Gula Duibhe housing estate is not being included,” said Judge Seán
Judge Mac Bride said the Irish Water’s plan provided for a discharge of
wastewater into Moville’s Bredagh River.
He added: “That will include raw sewerage, with water, going down the
Bredagh River into the sea, four times a year, according to Irish Water.
“We who live here know that’s not the case. It will be a lot more than
that because we’ve had a change in our weather patterns and climates
due to global warming and last winter, for instance, we had several
storms and we‘d a mini-hurricane as well. So, it’s not just going to be a
discharge four times a year. But, regardless of that point, it’s not on to
be discharging sewerage into the Foyle. It’s just not on.
“The North – South, Shared Waters Enhancement and Loughs Legacy
(SWELL) project, jointly announced in Derry last week by Minister
Eoghan Murphy (Housing, Planning and Local Government) and
backed by Europe, is a heaven-sent opportunity now to do it right.
“What we should be looking at is a major scheme, of where all the
waste treatment plants are brought up to the best, state-of-the-art,
models that we have in mainland Europe. I believe, in the Republic, the plants being used are not up to the standard that they have in mainland Europe. We also need European monies because you have two governments involved, barring the unknowns of Brexit, so that the
Capital Funds would be unleashed to provide for a major scheme that
would involve a sewerage discharge pipe or pipes going out into the
North Atlantic,” said Judge Mac Bride.
Unsurprisingly, Judge Mac Bride believed there was precedent for such
He added: “There was a recent scheme in Magilligan in the North.
Originally the Department of the Environment there, as I understand it, was going to discharge into the Foyle on the Lough side of it but then, on reflection, it agreed with the objectors and the local residents, co- operated with them and the discharge pipe is now going out on theseaward side of Magilligan Point.
“I think that’s a very powerful precedent now for Irish Water to follow
and it should think again and think long and hard about its proposed
Moville Sewerage Scheme.
‘I intend to get involved in the CFCE campaign as an ordinary member.
There are others who are more up to speed than I would be. Enda
(Craig) and Dr McGinley have been there throughout the entire
campaign and have encyclopaedic knowledge of it.
“We also have a world-renowned oceanographer based in Singapore
called Mike Quinnell, and he is the Bible and is a brilliant character and has done a huge amount of work in this area. So, I think we now have an opportunity, especially as Irish Water are obliged to back to the drawing board and apply for a fresh planning permission application, which I understand, will be lodged sometime in November or later this year, with Donegal County Council, to enlist our experts to go through the application line by line and take it from there,” said Judge Mac Bride.
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