Plans by Donegal Co. Council to build a wastewater treatment plant in Moville have had a massive spanner thrown into the works after it was revealed this week their preferred option - to pump thousands of gallons of effluent into Lough Foyle - could be blocked by the British Crown Estate.
After spending five million euro on the project so far the Council has now been told by the Crown Estate that it is not only laying claim to the entire seabed of the Lough but have also indicated they will attempt to block any plan to pump effluent into waters at Carnagarve.
The long running ownership dispute in regard to the Foyle, which has been ongoing since the foundation of the Irish state, is now likely to once again become a live issue.
Yesterday Inishowen Councillor Jack Murray told the Journal: “This news certainly massively alters the terms of this debate.
“The Council had advertised the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Marine as the owner of the seabed when issuing the CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) to purchase lands there. Now it is alleged that the Department knows nothing about a CPO”.
Along with party colleague Deputy Pádraig MacLochlainn Colr Murray confirmed they have raised their ‘serious concerns’ with Donegal County Manager Seamus Neely over the Crown Estate claims.
Explaining the background the Inishowen Councillor said: “Donegal County Council plans to build a wastewater treatment plant which will pump thousands of gallons of effluent into the scenic Carnagarve bathing waters. Local residents and respected environmental experts are concerned that the location of the outflow pipe within the Lough Foyle estuary, will cause serious environmental problems in Lough Foyle.
“For 23 years the local community has fought to have the proposed plant built north of Greencastle and have the outfall pipe pumped safely into coastal waters and not into the confines of Lough Foyle.
“This has been determinedly resisted by the council and some local representatives”.
The Sinn Fein councillor concluded: “In the face of well documented opposition, millions of taxpayer’s money has been spent on this project to date. We are very concerned that there is potential for millions more - possibly up to another 11/12m. euro - to be potentially wasted.
“As public representatives, we would find that to be indefensible.”