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Wednesday 21 August 2019

'We'll take fight to courts if €500m sewage plant goes ahead' - protesters

Cathy Mc Mahon, Rita Rittwegre, Terry Treacy, and Martin Flaherty with Sabrina Joyce - Kemper and her son Lucas Kemper (6) pictured on Portmarnock Beach
Cathy Mc Mahon, Rita Rittwegre, Terry Treacy, and Martin Flaherty with Sabrina Joyce - Kemper and her son Lucas Kemper (6) pictured on Portmarnock Beach

Around 60 campaigners have said they are prepared to go to court if the go-ahead is given for a €500m sewage plant in north Dublin that city planners say is vital for the area.

The campaigners are based in areas near the proposed Clonshaugh sewage plant - Portmarnock, Malahide, Abbotstown, Finglas, Baldoyle and Howth.

They now have an army of environmental experts on board advising them as they consider a judicial review at the High Court.

They claim the plant "will kill habitat and pollute the water".

Review

An Bord Pleanala is not expected to rule until the end of the month, but campaigners are ready for any decision.

"We feel if we go to judicial review, we will win - so whatever the decision, we are not worried," said Sabrina Joyce-Kemper, from Portmarnock.

"We have a panel of experts, marine and microbiologists, all of them agree this plan will kill life in the sea.

"Heavy metal will accumulate in shellfish, habitat will be destroyed, even during the construction process and after.

"Water quality will be affected. We aren't just being Nimby [not in my back yard] about this.

"We are willing to help Irish Water find another solution and we'll do that as we realise they have to find a way forward, but this isn't it.

Sabrina with Lucas
Sabrina with Lucas

"This plan is more a danger to Dublin than a help and it will destroy habitat."

She said the plan "flies in the face" of the Government's commitment to favour more green-oriented policies.

"Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are pro this plan," she said.

"This isn't good for our environment."

Marine biologist Kealan Doyle said that due to the lagoon area and the fact the water is staying there, rather than being washed out to sea, pollutants tend to accumulate.

Pumping

"As a result there's barium in the water, essentially metals, phosphate," he said.

"We are already playing with fire, the last thing we want to do is make it worse.

"We're not going to make the environment better by pumping thousands of litres of treated sewage into the water."

Irish Water says the plant will serve 500,000 people across the north of Co Dublin.

Senior waste consultant Ciaran O'Keeffe told a planning hearing in March the facility would not negatively impact on bathing waters.

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