Friday 18 January 2019

Completion of Rush project a victory for town's 'RAGE'

John Manning

The completion of a €9.7 million project that has now finally ended the discharge of raw sewage into the waters off Rush is a tribute to the 'passion and drive' of locals who campaigned in numbers to end the 'reputational damage' being done to the town by the environmental scandal that saw the equivalent of 8,300 wheelie bins of raw sewage flow into the sea off Rush every day.

That is according to Cllr Barry Martin (Ind) who played a leading role in the RAGE campaign set up to highlight the environmental disaster going on off Rush's shores.

That campaign came to a head in 2015 with mass protests in the town's streets and on the local beach the completion of the project is tribute to all those ordinary locals who stepped up and got involved, according to Cllr Martin.

He told the Fingal Independent: 'The completion of the Rush Waste Water Treatment Project is cause for huge celebration for the people of Rush. It is incredibly positive news for the town. The situation where 75% of the population's sewage was flowing into the sea was disastrous, and the adequate infrastructure should have been in place over 20 years ago. The RAGE campaign always argued that it was an environmental emergency.'

He added: 'I am incredibly proud to have played a leading role in the formation of the RAGE campaign. I would like to pay homage to the countless local RAGE volunteers whose passion and drive in getting our beaches back was exceptional. A number of activists gave many hours; canvassing, door knocking, collecting petition signatures, organising meetings both locally and with the EPA. This victory is theirs.

'The highlight of the RAGE campaign was in July 2015 when 1,000 people marched through the town in an overwhelming display of people power. On that march, every generation was represented from children to pensioners. Those that marched took ownership of the issue and have ensured that future generations will be able to enjoy clean beaches in Rush.'

Cllr Martin said: 'Rush suffered reputational damage from the beach closures over the years and therefore the onus is on the Council to build on the positive work of the project. As always I will be pushing for improved beach facilities in Rush, including real time water testing.

'Aside from the obvious benefits of the project in terms of cleaner sea water. Completion of the project also allows for greater population growth in Rush.

'It is my hope that this development will be both fair and sustainable with a sizable percentage of social and affordable housing in the area.'

Fingal Independent