Court bid to block Foyle water treatment plant fails
The view from lnishowen Head in Co Donegal looking down along Stroove and across Lough Foyle to Magilligan, Co Derry
A Co Donegal man has failed in his High Court bid to block Donegal County Council’s plans to build a wastewater treatment plant on the shores of Lough Foyle. Rejecting the arguments of Enda Craig against the development at Carnagave, Moville, Mr Justice John Hedigan said the local authority planned to build the plant for a population equivalent of 8,800 people.
It was envisaged the plant would comprise four pumping stations, rising mains, overflow pipelines and associated roadworks, with treated effluent falling into Lough Foyle.
Mr Craig had challenged the development on environmental impact grounds and the adequacy of an environmental study. He had also alleged subjective bias on the part of a member of An Bord Pleanála who used to work for a consultant company later associated with the development.
Mr Craig claimed that a board-appointed inspector who had three times recommended the refusal of planning permission, had been removed from the process by board member Conall Boland. Mr Justice Hedigan said the board had refuted “the unwarranted allegation that Mr Boland acted inappropriately” or that its decision had been motivated by bias.
No evidence of any kind had been produced to back up the allegations of impropriety. Sad and sobering experience had shown that the planning process attracted egregious forms of corruption and dishonesty and constant vigilance was undoubtedly required to combat “this plague”.
He said sharp and focused litigation was certainly one of the effective tools for doing this but to do so without solid evidence, completely absent in this case, was an abuse of the process of the court and did nothing to assist the case of good planning or environmental protection.
“In justice to the parties involved, I think I must state unequivocally that Mr Boland’s good name and integrity have been thoroughly vindicated in these proceedings,” Mr Justice Hedigan added. “I am sorry to say that, on the other hand, the plaintiff’s credibility as a plaintiff has been badly damaged.”