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Friday 6 December 2019

Bloomsday event concerns as swim ban still in force

A swimming ban remains in place at Dollymount Strand after sewage flowed into Dublin Bay from a water treatment plant
A swimming ban remains in place at Dollymount Strand after sewage flowed into Dublin Bay from a water treatment plant

There are concerns over a Bloomsday swimming event set to be attended by 600 people, with a ban remaining in place at Dollymount Strand.

Dublin City Council announced that temporary restrictions on swimming had been lifted on Sandymount and Merrion strands yesterday.

However, a ban remains in place at Dollymount.

"Further sample results for Dollymount are expected on Wednesday, and the temporary restriction will be reviewed again then," the council said.

The restrictions were put in place after an overflow at the Ringsend water treatment plant caused sewage to flow into Dublin Bay last week.

Sewage

The bans were lifted at all beaches in the Dun Laoghaire area on Sunday night after tests found the water quality had returned to normal.

Irish Water blamed the overflow on last week's heavy rains, saying the plant "operated as designed", adding it is not possible to "build a plant that can cope with every single rainfall event that ever occurs".

It said it is planning €400m of improvements to ensure the plant can deal with higher rainfall.

"We were supposed to get the results on Monday, but they are taking further samples," Clontarf Green Party councillor Donna Cooney said.

"There's a Bloomsday event on Sunday and 600 people are interested in swimming, so we are concerned the ban is not yet lifted."

Ms Cooney said it was good the council's engineers were "erring on the side of caution", as there were "vulnerable people" wanting to swim there.

However, she said the swim bans were "happening too frequently" across Dublin.

"The water is a natural resource, and we're coming up to the summer season," she said.

"The kite festival was last weekend and the ban was in place the whole time.

"This shows the infrastructure isn't able to cope. Once there is heavy rain or storm damage, the infrastructure isn't standing up to it.

"It's not adequate for the city's needs.

"Irish Water needs to sort this out - and if they can't cope, they need to put this back to Dublin City Council's responsibility.

"We believed Irish Water were going to put a new sewage plant in, but in the meantime, there has to be interim measures in place."

There has been major opposition to the Clonshaugh treatment plant, which is being billed as a main measure to take pressure off the wider system.

Campaigners are claiming if the proposal gets the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanala on June 28, it could trigger more swimming bans on the northside.

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