Coastal community to protest over raw sewage on its beaches


Katie Morris

RESIDENTS of a seaside community will today take to the streets in protest over the raw sewage that continues to flow into their harbour.

It will be three years before Irish Water and Fingal County Council works, costing €7.3m, are completed at Rush, north Dublin.

Currently, sewage from 2,700 homes enters the sea and some swimmers have compared the harbour view to that of an oil slick.

A community meeting was held in Rush this week by the newly-established Rush Action Group for the Environment (RAGE).

The group will march from the community centre to the harbour from midday today.

Alan Healy, who has lived in the community for over 18 years, told the Herald that the current environmental situation is affecting tourism and expressed fears that plans to tackle the issue could be shelved.

"This is a tendered process and they can turn around at the end of the day and say: 'We are not happy with any of the tenders we've received and we're going back to the drawing board'," he said.

Local resident Sandra Sweetman said the community feels totally ignored.

Slick "We were not properly represented, we are considered the poor cousin compared to Malahide and Skerries.

"Fingal Co Council pulled out all the stops to represent other areas and not Rush," Sandra said.

Frequent swimmer Brendan Price said the current situation is endangering people's lives and added that he will no longer swim in Rush. He described a stretch of beach that would usually be covered in seaweed as currently covered in "about 50 yards of toilet paper."

"You can see a slick of sewage for about a half mile out. If you walk out at low tide you can see it gurgling up," he said.

Many locals taking an evening stroll on the beach during the week said they were unaware of the ban due to an elevated level of E-Coli.

John and Emmaleene Leahy and their daughter, Aurora (3), were out for a walk and expressed surprise at the swimming ban imposed by Fingal County Council.

"I didn't hear anything about the ban and we didn't see any signs. If we had decent weather we would have Aurora playing in the water," John said.

The local authority posted details of the ban on its website as well as on Facebook and Twitter and on the Environmental Protection Agency website.