Panic is setting in at Donegal Council as the realisation dawns that their pursuit of the Sewage Treatment at Carnagarve against the will of local people could cost the Council millions of pounds. The Council could potentially go bankrupt.

Sinn Féin Inishowen Councillor Jack Murray and local TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn have raised their serious concerns with Donegal County Manager Seamus Neely over recent reports that the British Crown Estate claim to own the entire seabed of Lough Foyle and that they may challenge Donegal County Council’s plans to run an outflow pipe from the proposed Moville/ Greencastle sewerage scheme into the Lough at Carnagarve.

Cllr Murray 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”.

Sharp Turn

“But events have now taken a sharp turn with news that the British Crown Estate claims to own the entire seabed of Lough Foyle and that they may challenge Donegal County Council’s plans. The Council had advertised the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Marine as the owner of the seabed when issuing the CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order. Now it is alleged that the Department knows nothing about a CPO”.


He continued:

“Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and I have now written to the County Manager and the Council’s Director of Water and Environment Services seeking urgent clarification of the Council’s response to these reports.

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 to be potentially wasted. As public representatives, we would find that to be indefensible.”

There must be some very worried people at the Council at the moment. How could they not know that the Crown Estate claimed the land and that both local people and national agencies were paying rent to them, which is acknowledging that they own the seabed? Everyone in Moville knew it.

One wonders why they didn’t issue a compulsory purchase order to the Ministry of agriculture whom they claimed owned the land when they sent the orders out to local residents. Did they know that the game was up when they didn’t send out the notices in November 2011 to the most important supposed landowner?

Now the Crown Estates are taking legal advice on the matter. Who is going to pay for it if the Crown Estates sue?

What a fine mess they have got themselves into. Why did they think it was so important to build it in a local beauty spot? This news now has legs and is travelling fast around the country and possibly internationally. Donegal Councillors have now gone to ground on this. After all, who is now going to defend the indefensible?

Heads must surely roll after this fiasco which is making Donegal a laughing-stock in front of the world.