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I will resist monster sewage plant - farmer

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pic.1. Farmer Joe Jones.on  his farm..at Clonshaugh road... bordering on the   sewage plant site...

pic.1. Farmer Joe Jones.on his farm..at Clonshaugh road... bordering on the sewage plant site...

pic.1. Farmer Joe Jones.on his farm..at Clonshaugh road... bordering on the sewage plant site...

FARMER Joe Jones isn't looking for a field of dreams – just of cabbage.

But he faces a massive battle to protect this land after a local authority selected the site for a 'monster' sewage treatment plant.

On Monday his father PJ (77) got a phone call that is likely to change the way the family work and live.

A complex to treat sewage from almost a million people is to be build within 200m of the house Joe (45) shares with his wife Elaine.

The council want to takeover 35 acres of the family's 120 acre farm at Clonshaugh in north Dublin.

"We'll fight to the best of our ability," said Joe.

The couple had already been campaigning against the project when they discovered their land was on a shortlist of possible sites for the giant treatment plant.

More than 10,000 people in north Dublin had already confirmed their objection to the scheme.

The Joneses share the belief of most objectors that a series of small treatment plants servicing different areas of the Dublin region was a safer option than a single giant sewage complex.

"I never thought it would get to this stage. We have three young children and now we are being forced to consider having to relocate our business," said the commercial vegetable grower.

"And the pipeline at Portmarnock will be pumping 1,000 litres per second into the Irish Sea. What will happen when something goes wrong and a malfunction means pumping raw sewage into the sea," he said.

"The scale of it means if anything went wrong there could be a giant catastrophe," he said.

Piping

The proposed 23-hectare complex, treating sewage from Kildare, Meath and Dublin, will be next door to Craobh Chairain Hurling Club. Another sports complex in the vicinity is the AUL Athletic Union League grounds where the Irish football team has regularly trained.

The Joneses said they are baffled that their private land is being scooped up by this public project when the lands next door are under State ownership with an Industrial Development Authority landbank.

Ironically, their own home, constructed in recent years, has a 'bio-cycle' toilet system because there is no public sewer in the vicinity.

They said they will be joining other members of the Reclaim Fingal Alliance in taking a full part in opposing the scheme.

The plant will require 32km of underground piping to transfer treated waste to the sea.

Officials claim the plan is €18m cheaper than alternative sites, and required the shortest amount of underground piping.

Waste will be dispersed 6km off the Portmarnock coastline.

Fears about a giant sewage plant were raised more than two years ago when a shortlist of nine sites emerged. A year ago, the list was reduced to just three sites. Now, the unveiling of the plan has galvanised a large number of local people.

They said the management of a local hotel were 'furious' at the plan.

Concerns have been raised about the harmful effect the plant could have on agriculture, vegetable growing and fishing.

Fingal County Council has been given responsibility to build the €500m plant on behalf of all the local authorities in the region.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there is no point in the Environment Minister Phil Hogan meeting objectors.

Mr Kenny declared the Environment Minister's only role is in funding and so him meeting with objectors would serve no purpose.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin urged the Government to meet with representatives of 12,000 people who object to the facility.

An official website promoting the project stated Clonshaugh was "the best solution" for the future development of waste water treatment.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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