I got a letter from the Council dated 18th October 2011 informing me of the compulsory purchase order for the land at the back of this house here on the River Row. They were planning to run a pipe under it. I remember that I had to sign for the letter from the postman. It said that it would be published in the Derry Journal of October 21st in accordance with Section 78(1) of the Housing Act.

Dan McGuinness got one too but on the 28th of October and phrased differently. Even more importantly, not only did he have to sign for it as well, but it was stamped with he Council’s stamp and the stamp was dated November 7th.

Everyone round here got one as they intend putting a pumping station here. The letters are signed by Paul Kilcoyne, Senior Engineer, Water & Environment Services

Strange Days

However, it appears that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food didn’t get one – despite them being the primary landowners of the seabed according to the Council. That’s very strange. Did the Council send them out one or did they not?

Said Enda Craig of the letter to Dan McGuinness “as you can see this letter arrived with Dan by reg post.
DCC must have a record of sending a similar letter to DAFF. DAFF, if it was sent, must have a record of arrival. The fact that reg post is involved means neither side can blame the postman”.


So, did Donegal Council send out a purchase order to The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food or did they not? If they did, can they produce the proof?

The Agriculture Department say that they didn’t get it and that no one has ever contacted them about it. It seems that there has been no communications between Donegal Council and the supposed landowners since the order was supposedly sent out. That’s strange as the Council saw them as the main landowner and were preparing to install a 300-metre pipeline right into the seabed and out into the Foyle. And yet there was no communication between them at all from what DAFF say.

Crown Estates

As it turns out (and as everyone in Moville already knew) the seabed up to the high tide line is claimed as British and owned by the Crown Estates. The Crown Estates sell licences to aquaculture businesses that use the Foyle. Indeed the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food pay rent for the use of it through the Loughs Agency it seems.

It is likely that the Ministry would have told Donegal Council that they didn’t own the land if they had received this letter. Was that what the Council were afraid of?

If they did send the purchase order they must inform us with the proof. If they didn’t, they must explain why they didn’t and why there has been no communication with the department at all since then.

Huge Cost

This is becoming stranger and stranger by the day. The Council have spent €5m on this project since its inception without ever having a spade in the ground. This is despite the reason given for the change of location from outside the estuary to Carnagarve for the sewage treatment pump in 1995, as being for cost reasons (it was a few hundred thousand cheaper).

One wonders how much of that has been spent since the purchase orders (bar one it seems) were sent out in late 2011.

According to Enda Craig “Since the date on the letters they have spent 278,000 euro on a 2 day oral hearing. I wonder what they told the hearing about the CPO. Also there is the cost of defending the recent judicial hearing in the High Court in which they had double representation i.e. 2 senior councils, 2 junior and 2 solicitors not to mention an engineer from DCC attending the court there for the 4 days”.

There’s something very odd going on here. With Council Elections in just 14 months one hopes that there is a perfectly good explanation for all of this.