Swimming and planning

 

Sir, – I read with interest your article in Saturday’s Magazine (November 23rd) of the increase in all-year-round swimming and its wonderful beneficial effects.

There has been an increase in the numbers doing it and articles written about it. However, I wonder if The Irish Times has forgotten North Dublin, especially the beaches from Balscadden Beach in Howth, through Portmarnock and Malahide and on towards Donabate, Portrane, Rush and Lusk, not forgetting Bettystown and Laytown?

Mention is made in the article of the many beaches south of the city, most of which were off limits this summer as Irish Water had allowed raw or barely treated sewage into the seas around these beaches – so much for all-year-round swimming!

At the moment, Portmarnock Beach and those north of it are protected from such events by Howth Peninsula. Portmarnock in particular is the jewel in the crown of Fingal County Council, with both Blue and Green flags.

The days of these beaches are numbered as An Bord Pleanála has passed the monstrous Irish Water plan to build an enormous sewage plant in a built-up area just north of Darndale and to discharge this waste water just one kilometre off Ireland’s Eye and three kilometres off Portmarnock Beach.

Concerned swimmers, environmentalists, oceanographers, Howth fishermen and microbiologists are aghast at this plan.

Our group of swimmers has consulted all these experts and all agreed that the result of this misconceived plan would not only destroy the beaches if raw sewage releases occur (can we trust Irish Water on this issue?), but would alter the salinity of the sea, destroy fish stocks and generally cause mayhem in that part of the Irish Sea.

This plan has been many years in coming to this point. During that time, things have changed dramatically in environmental matters and climate change. Alternatives are available – small sustainable alternatives using redundant bog lands to soak up and retrieve nutrients, grow willow both as a reed bed and a bio-diverse fuel.

This is not Nimbyism, it is a much bigger picture involving the use of our seas and land in the light of climate change.

This is another huge, expensive white elephant, like the national children’s hospital and rural broadband that taxpayers ultimately pay for in greatly-reduced services.

Does no one in Government do joined-up thinking? – Yours, etc,

ALVIS CRAWFORD,

Year-round swimmer,

Portmarnock Co Dublin.