THE decision to build a new €500m sewage treatment plant in Clonshaugh, north Dublin, has sparked a wave of outrage.
The decision to build a new €500m sewage treatment plant in Clonshaugh, north Dublin, has sparked a wave of outrage.
The outflow for the 20 hectare facility, near Dublin Airport, is planned for Portmarnock, near Ireland's Eye.
Opponents say the "monster" sewage plant has the potential to cause an environmental disaster.
Three sites had been shortlisted for the 50-acre facility – Annsbrook and Newtowncorduff, near Lusk, both with an outfall near Loughshinny, north of Rush, and Clonshaugh.
The preferred site for the plant was announced at a Fingal County Council meeting yesterday. It will be second in size only to Ringsend and has been a cause of controversy for the past seven years.
There were more than 10,000 objections from local interests, including the horticultural industry, fearing it would harm farming and agriculture and destroy the local fishing industry and coastline.
Project managers with Greater Dublin Drainage said the site, which is 2.2km east of Dublin Airport and between the Malahide Road and the M1, is ecologically and environmentally better.
Reclaim Fingal Alliance campaign group vowed to step up its battle against a large-scale treatment plant anywhere in the area.
Brian Hosford, RFA chairman, said: "We are still opposed to this no matter where it is going. We don't agree with a large single plant anywhere.
"We believe that regardless of where this goes the potential for an environmental disaster remains."
RFA said it wants a full cost benefit analysis as part a new Strategic Environmental Assessment to examine population changes, the state's of the country's finances, and the economic and social consequences of a potential environmental disaster.
"The fact that this is going to cost half a billion euro to the economy at this time is crazy," Mr Hosford added.
Joe Jones, whose father PJ owns most of the land at the preferred site, criticised Fingal County Council and project managers for not getting in touch with the family sooner or inviting them to the council meeting.
"They haven't come near us at all," he said.
The family grow cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli on a 30-acre in the area, where they also live.
"This will be a huge problem for us," the 45-year-old added.
Senator Averil Power (FF) lashed as "outrageous" Fingal Council's announcement that Clonshaugh had been chosen.
"This decision will directly impact thousands of families and residents objected to this proposal. Their concerns are valid and yet they have been completely ignored."
The Lusk Waste Watch campaign, representing the community of Lusk, said in a statement they were "relieved that Lusk is to be spared the massive sewage treatment plant to serve other council areas outside Fingal."
Project engineers will now carry out further technical investigations.
The plans also drew opposition from a number of sports organisations, including fishing and gun clubs, as well as the Irish Farmers Association.
A statement on the Greater Dublin Drainage website said Clonshaugh was the best solution for the future development of waste water treatment capacity in the wider Dublin region.
Tunnelling of the preferred outfall is technically easier and the outfall location at Portmarnock has a greater depth of water for treated water discharged into the sea.
It would have the shortest pipeline and therefore a shorter construction time and is closest to the existing areas where waste water is drawn from and will be more flexible in serving schools, hospitals, houses and industry immediately – as well as enabling additional capacity.