Sunday 21 July 2019

Wetlands protest over sewage plan

Caoimhe Swan at the Wetlands Day Protest, Portmarnock
Caoimhe Swan at the Wetlands Day Protest, Portmarnock

A local group opposing plans to take the outfall from the planned giant regional sewage plant at Clonshaugh off the coast at Portmarnock has used World Wetlands Day to make its point.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on February 2.

Portmarnock community activits Catherine McMahon and Betty Ennis first organised an event in celebration of World Wetlands Day back in 2007 but they had added reason to mark the day this year.

Catherine told the Fingal Independent: 'This year our World Wetlands Day walk served to highlight a very serious issue, the recently lodged planning application by Irish Water that proposes tunnelling a 6ft diameter sewage pipeline under the estuary, dunes, and beach, terminating just off Ireland's Eye.

'This is the outfall section of the Greater Dublin Drainage Project, that also proposes a massive sewage plant in Clonshaugh, about four times the size of Croke Park.'

The ladies have been very active, along with the Portmarnock swimmers (the Red Hot Mommas), Clonshaugh residents, Portmarnock residents and various other groups in opposing the unimaginative planning application and have held a number of protests since the planning was lodged in the summer. It is presently with An Bord Pleanala and because of the huge amount of objections an oral hearing is due to be held before June giving all groups an opportunity to voice their concerns.

The enthusiastic walkers started off from the Kingfisher Green across from the Texaco garage on Strand Road, where they then staged a protest through the village carrying banners highlighting the issue. Protestors from Clonshaugh joined in the event as did local TD, Deputy Darragh O'Brien, who addressed the gathering, re-stating his opposition to the sewage plant plans.

Moira Cassidy one of the swimmers who has been working along with other members of CUAS (Communities Unite Against Sewage) said: 'Those of us who swim daily off the beach for health, well-being and recreational purposes will not have the same confidence swimming in waters that potentially could contain bacteria, prions, and in the event of plant or pipeline malfunction, raw sewage.'

She added: 'The estuary and beach is our centre, the heart of our community and paramount to our identity...'

Fingal Independent