€500m Clonshaugh plant a disaster for area, says TD

Broughan calls decision “a cynical power play” by politicians in Fingal

A protest sign erected near the site for the proposed new €500 million regional sewage treatment plant to be built at Clonshaugh in north Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

A protest sign erected near the site for the proposed new €500 million regional sewage treatment plant to be built at Clonshaugh in north Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The proposed €500 million regional sewage treatment plant which will serve up to 700,000 people in north Co Dublin and surrounding areas is to be built at Clonshaugh near Dublin Airport.

The plans were unveiled at a Fingal County Council meeting yesterday. Greater Dublin Drainage, the name for Fingal County Council’s project to upgrade wastewater treatment in the capital, recommended the building of a 26km orbital sewer, a wastewater treatment plant at Clonshaugh and a 6km outfall pipe which will reach the sea at Baldoyle.

Shortlisted
Three locations had been shortlisted for the 20-hectare facility: Annsbrook and Newtowncorduff near Lusk, both with an outfall near Loughshinny, north of Rush, and Clonshaugh with an outfall near Ireland’s Eye south of Portmarnock.

However, opposition groups have vowed to continue to campaign against the facility, saying a series of smaller plants would have been environmentally safer. Dublin North East Labour TD Tommy Broughan said the decision was a disaster for the area around the site.

Project engineers said the site, which is 2.2km east of Dublin Airport and between the Malahide Road and the M1, is the most ecologically and environmentally suitable.

Councillors heard the Clonshaugh site was the least ecologically sensitive and the plant can be designed to avoid damaging nearby archaeological remains. Project manager Peter O’Reilly said the effluent will be discharged deeper into the water from Clonshaugh. “It’s also a shorter pipeline,” he added. “Overall I think it’s 32km versus 50km in total, so it’s less construction and from the economic point of view . . . it costs much less.”

The engineers estimate the cost to be €420 million, a saving of some €80 million on the original figure. The plant will be second in size only to the Ringsend treatment plant in the south of the city which has been a cause of controversy for the past seven years.

More than 10,000 residents lodged objections against the facility, fearing it will have a detrimental effect on farming and horticulture and destroy the local fishing industry and coastline.

Mr Broughan said the decision was “a total disaster” for the area and described it as “a cynical power play by the politicians in Fingal” to place a facility which will work primarily for people in Fingal, “on the very border with Dublin city”.

‘Very fearful’
He added that “people will be naturally very fearful of the impact on the area . . . If this is to go ahead it will be fiercely opposed”.

The Reclaim Fingal alliance of opposition groups said it would oppose the current solution on the grounds that “one giant plant has the potential for an environmental disaster if anything goes wrong”.

Mr O’Reilly strongly denied there had been a political dimension to the final location decision. “We never ever had that as part of the criteria for choosing,” he said.

The engineers hope to bring an environmental impact statement to An Bord Pleanála early next year.