Raw sewage continues to be pumped into the Irish Sea at Rush
It could be 2018 before raw sewage ceases to be pumped into the Irish Sea at South Beach in Rush.
The popular North Dublin strand was one of seven established bathing spots that failed to meet quality standards last year.
Irish Water's head of assets Jerry Grant said yesterday that it could take up to two years before plans to connect Rush to the wider sewerage scheme that serves Portrane, Donabate and Lusk are put into action.
"We have a huge investment programme in relation to waste water treatment and these sites are all prioritised because bathing water clearly is an important priority in relation to community, tourism and public health," Mr Grant told RTE Radio.
"So we're trying to get those sites expedited. In relation to the works at Rush, that will take about two years.
"In terms of treatment, we'll be better off next year, and within the next two years all those sites will hopefully be addressed."
Local businessman Vinny Brennan, who owns Vinny's Barbers just off the main street in Rush, has experienced first hand the raw sewage that is pumped into the sea.
"I've witnessed it myself. I was kayaking just off the harbour and I saw raw, untreated sewage floating around," he told the Herald.
"We were in the water for about an hour before we saw it and we had been swimming before that and it nearly made me sick.
"I couldn't believe that my face was in that water. I'd heard about it before, but it turned my stomach to see it.
"We could literally see it bubbling up out of the water, and we were only about 100 feet away from the harbour. We weren't that far out.
"It's such a shame because Rush is a seaside town and we don't want tourists who visit seeing that and telling people when they go home."
Local councillors believe the raw sewage produced by up to 9,500 people is being pumped directly into the Irish Sea at Rush.
People Before Profit representative Barry Martin said the issue is one he has brought up at Fingal County Council numerous times since he was elected last May.
"The situation is that approximately 80pc of the raw sewage from Lusk is pumped untreated directly into the sea," he said.
"While the town grew from around 3,000 to 10,000 people over the past 20 years, there have been no improvements in waste water management despite an EU directive stating that raw sewage shouldn't be pumped into our water systems.
"Funding has been allocated to connect Rush to the treatment centre in Portrane, but there's been delay after delay.
"The project won't be completed until 2018 which means a minimum of three more summers of people swimming in the sea that has raw sewage in it."