The decision of the County Council to locate it’s controversial Monster Sewage Plant at Clonshaugh has come as a shock and a relief to residents in the North County, depending on where you live.
The decision was made at last evening’s full council meeting at County Hall in Swords. Councillors from the three shortlisted sites, namely Newtowncorduff and Annsbrook, both near Lusk and the third at Clonshaugh, held their collective breaths as the “winner” was announced. In a scene reminiscent of the secrecy of the Oscars. Delight and despair filled the chamber, depending on which area you represented.
The fact that the selected site is located 2kms east of Dublin Airport, with the marine outfall pipe north east of Ireland’s Eye, caused concern for councillors from the Malahide/Howth Electoral Ward.
Local TD, Alan Farrell (FG), while acknowledging that the siting of the plant in Lusk would have a far greater effect than that in Clonshaugh, expressed his disappointment that Clonshaugh was chosen. “It will affect the water bathing quality on the shore off Portmarnock and have an affect on tourism
“It’s a disjointed approach to waste water policy and the sooner that Irish Water takes over, the better. The Clonshaugh site will affect fewer North County residents, as it would have more affinity with Dublin city than with the North County, however my real concern is whether we can afford it. It’s an unaffordable folly,” he concluded.
Similarly, local councillor, Anthony Lavin (FG) from the Malahide/Howth Ward was not happy with the choice. He told the County Leader, “The marine outfall is a cause of concern for residents of Portmarnock, Baldoyle and Howth. I’m not at all happy that councillors had no say in the choice and that, while it was conducted properly, it was outside of the democratic process,” he said angrily.
The general feeling of relief in County Hall, Swords was palpable among councillors from the Balbriggan Ward, who had vehemently resisted the siting of such a Monster Sewage Plant in Lusk. One such councillor was Ken Farrell (Lab), who spoke to the County Leader in the immediate aftermath of the announcement. “I’m relieved that Lusk has not been selected for this Monster Sewage Plant, but I don’t take any delight in the fact that some other area has been burdened with this monstrosity.”
He continued, “I believe the Council made a huge mistake, believing the people of the North County were a soft touch and from the time I called the first public meeting to organise people against this proposal, the opposition grew all across North County Dublin and created a civic alliance,” he said.
Lusk Waste Watch, a group which has worked tirelessly to ensure that the plant was not located in Lusk are also relieved that Lusk is to be spared the massive sewage treatment plant to serve other council areas outside the North County.
A spokesperson for the group told the County Leader, “We have long argued that the proposed plant is inappropriate in Lusk. We have questioned the suitability of the site and pipe selection process over the last two years. While we are relieved that Lusk will not have to shoulder the burden of this monster facility, we are angered that communities have had to defend themselves from the proposals of Greater Dublin Drainage and the County Council.”
Senator Darragh O’Brien said, “I am gravely disappointed that the Department of the Environment and the County Council have decided to proceed with this Monster Sewage plant. I am opposed to this plant being located anywhere in the North County. This decision has grave implications for our coastline, our horticultural sector, our fishing industry and the quality of life for all the residents of North County Dublin. Thousands of people have objected to this plant. Our objections have fallen on deaf ears. The Government must listen to the people of the North County,” he concluded.
Councillor Tom O’Leary (FG) said, “I am delighted that the concerned communities in Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Loughshinny and the rural areas have been listened to.”
“I welcome the announcement that the site will not be located near Lusk and I support the proposed location at Clonshaugh, which is nearer to Dublin city and closer to the existing pipelines and the current output from Dublin city. To consider Lusk as a location was not a runner, it did not make sense from a value for money perspective.”
A total of 10,000 submissions were sent into the local authority, mainly from Lusk and it seems that this co-ordinated approach has had the desired effect. Undoubtedly, the scars that heavy trucks rumbling through a pastoral area such as Lusk would bring, would have had a profound effect on tourism, horticulture and quality of life to the area.
The general feeling is that Lusk has had to shoulder it’s fair share of unsavoury projects, including the now defunct Nevitt dump and the recently closed Balleally dump. It’s high time that Lusk had a break and this decision will be welcomed by all in the area.