EC Insists Irish Government Must Amend Planning Legislation

by Enda Craig, August 25, 2016

Enda Craig, CFCE,  Marian Harkin, MEP & Don McGinley, CFCE

Enda Craig, CFCE,  Marian Harkin, MEP & Don McGinley, CFCE

Independent MEP Marian Harkin met with representatives of the ‘Save the Foyle – Community for a Clean Estuary’ (CFCE) for an update on the proposed Moville/Greencastle Waste Water Treatment Plant discharge pipe. She is pictured in Moville with Enda Craig (left) and Dr. Don McGinley of the CFCE.

Referring to her meeting with the representatives of the CFCE Marian Harkin said that the Moville/Greencastle waste water project was a classic example of mismanagement by planning authorities, state agencies and the Department of the Environment.  “However working with CFCE we have so far prevented wrong decisions being taken which could irreparably damage the ecosystem of the Foyle Estuary and it once more highlights the ability of the European Commission to protect the interest of citizens when a Member State does not”, she said.

The European Commission has said that Ireland is in breach of EU legislation and must amend their environmental impact assessment legislation to comply with EU requirements. In effect this means that the waste water treatment cannot go ahead as planned. “All we want is the best outcome for this project, the people of Moville, Greencastle and surrounding areas deserve nothing less”,  the Independent MEP maintained.  She pledged to continue to work closely with CFCE and the European Commission to ensure that no dubious political or irresponsible decisions were taken which would lead to unacceptable discharge of damaging waste to vulnerable waters and fish life.

I received communication this week from Ms Antoinette Long, case handler for Ireland infringements, European Commission.  Ms Long, who is working on our 'Moville / waste water discharge licencing (EU pilot 8542/16)' said

I can confirm that the Irish authorities have confirmed their intention to amend their legislation in order to comply with the EIA Directive insofar as waste water discharge licencing is concerned.
However, we are currently clarifying certain aspects of the replies provided by the Irish authorities and have asked further questions in this regard.
In addition, we have been informed that Irish Water has confirmed that the licence application for the proposed Moville plant is no longer current and has committed to not submitting a new application until the proposed legislative changes are made.

This is a massive decision by the European Commission who have now found in favour of the CFCE against the Irish Government in breach of European Legislation. This decision vindicates the lengthy campaign (26 years) by the CFCE to ensure this project was carried out properly and in accordance with correct European planning legislation.

Members of Community For A Clean Estuary are looking forward to the conclusion to this long running debacle. It is hoped that the competent authority will begin the process of identifying, with the support of the local communities, a suitable and acceptable location for this long overdue and essential Waste Water Treatment Plant for the Moville and Greencastle areas.