The Carnagarve Group which opposes the building of a Sewage Treatment Plant at Carnagarve in Moville have got themselves a major ally in the British Government. The Crown Estates, the landlord of Queen Elizabeth, say that they are opposed to the sewage pipeline being built 300 metres into the Foyle.

It’s Ours

They have a major say in it as they claim that they own the seabed up to the seashore. They say that they have never been asked for, and never given, any permission to build out into the seabed. It seems that Donegal Council published a compulsory purchase order in October 2011 saying it was taking over the seabed.

They stated that it was owned by the Irish Minister for Agriculture when it was actually owned by the Crown Estate. It seems that they own it up to the high water line.

Now it has decided to get heavy and clamp down on the Sewage Treatment Plant project at Carnagarve.

It charges rent for the use of the seabed to the aquaculture business on both sided of the border. The issue has been escalated to the very top levels of the civil services on both sides of the border.

The Council have spent €5m on the project in the last 23 years. An Bord Pleanala had a hugely expensive enquiry.

The Council and An Bord Pleanala may now have to eat humble pie, which they won’t enjoy, and build the sewage treatment plant 2 kilometres north at the mouth of the estuary and outside the Lough Foyle system.

So are the British right? Do they own the Foyle up to the high water line. Are we bathing in British waters?

It seems that for the first time that the cross-border Loughs Agency have confirmed that they recognise the claim by the British Crown Estates. It seems that it even collects and pays rent on it.

A Crown Estate spokesman said: “The exact location of the international boundary through loughs Carlingford and Foyle is an issue for determination between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The Crown Estate works for the benefit of all users of the two border loughs and the protection of their environments.”

“The Crown Estate has never had a planning application made to it. Donegal County Council would have no rights to access the foreshore and seabed without the permission of the Crown Estate”.

The spokesman then went even further: “The Crown Estate is very concerned at the council’s proposals and may well consider legal action to stop it in this case.”

It looks like game, set and match to Enda and the gang – unless Donegal Council are intending to enforce their claim to the seabed of Lough Foyle.

There will be dancing in the streets of Moville and Greencastle tonight.