Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Scenic area's sewage plant causes protest

Anita Guidera in the Westyern People writes that a coastal community has stepped up its campaign to prevent a sewage plant being located close to houses, beaches and a popular scenic walk.
As part of Donegal County Council's plan for the Moville/Greencastle sewage scheme, a holding tank for raw sewage is to be situated within metres of the holiday home of former SDLP leader and Nobel Prize winner John Hume.
The location of the controversial scheme - close to the banks of Lough Foyle and midway between the seaside towns of Moville and Greencastle on the eastern coast of the Inishowen peninsula - has caused outrage among locals.
The site earmarked for the plant in the townland of Carnagarve is within 170 metres of a gaelscoil and Gaelic football pitch and near to about 100 houses.
And 400 metres away on Lafferty's Lane, raw sewage will be pumped from an estimated 60 houses to a vented holding tank beside a beach and picnic area and a number of private homes, including one owned by the Hume family.
Although the Humes are not involved in the campaign, John Hume has publicly expressed his "serious concerns" about the plans.
"Surely for a man who has given so much for the peace process, it could not be considered proper repayment to locate a raw sewage tank 15 metres from his front door," said Enda Craig, spokesperson for the Campaign for a Clean Estuary group.
Last Saturday, up to 70 people took to the streets of Moville for the first of a series of protests in the run-up to the general election.
"This has become an election issue for this community. People are feeling abandoned and betrayed by their elected representatives," Mr Craig said. "It is a cheap and nasty solution to a problem which has been ongoing for 30 years."
The protesters argue that the plant, which will pump effluent into Lough Foyle, close to popular bathing coves and a County Council-developed ‘Sli na Slainte' walk-way and picnic area, will destroy the area's most valuable asset.
"This beautiful shore is one of the few natural assets we have. Nobody will want to swim here or use the walk, with sewage spraying off the rocks," Mr Craig said.
Mr Craig claimed that the selection process for the site was without any consultation with local residents.
Donegal County Council maintains that "considerable time, effort and expense had been put into public consultation" and that the site at Carnagarve represented the "optimum solution from an environmental, technical and financial viewpoint".

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