Politics rears it's ugly head once again, in anti Irish Water campaign

Article by buncranatogether.com

We are at it again both locally and nationally with quite a few unsavoury words being said on facebook pages of anti Irish Water groups.  In both instances the issues might seem trivial and easily overcome. But fundamentally they are not. Both issues are big, have been smouldering for some time and are a manifestation of an underlying problem within the anti Irish Water movement. They are political, involving personal and political agendas and the juxtaposition of these two is a recipe for disaster.

Nationally, there is a god awful row in Dublin over a 'Fine Gael Ard Fheis 'demonstration, organised by 'Tallagh Says No', on Jan 23 to coincide with Fine Gael Ard Fheis on that same day. See the event page HERE.   Right2Change have called for it's own demonstration in central Dublin on that particular day and now want the other organisers to change the starting time to accommodate both. Does this not seem strange? Why split the force?  Is the Ard Fheis not a great opportunity to show our opposition? It would be a great rallying point where we can present a unified front encouraged by all the different factions? The answer to both questions is a resounding 'Yes', especially where all the media attention will be focussed. So why would Right2Change insist on their own and separate demonstration away from such an obvious venue? It is a mystery.

Locally, a row in Donegal has cropped up on the facebook page of Liam Whyte, organiser of Can't Pay Won't Pay. Primarily the row is about the 'Boycott' campaign and why Right2Change and Sinn Fein do not back it. A Right2Change spokesperson says that Right2Change has called for and supports a boycott. Once again strong words are exchanged. It is a fact that officially Right2Change has not backed the boycott campaign despite a overwhelming majority of anti water charges supporters backing such a boycott. This is the same as Sinn Fein's stance on the boycott campaign and it could be argued that most of Sinn Fein supporters also back the boycott. So why is the leadership of both organisations not doing so? Surely for the success of the campaign this is an obvious and strong tactic. It is a mystery.

In Donegal there is dismay, dissension, frustration at Right2Change's unilateral decision to call for a demonstration in Letterkenny, 23rd January. Of course there should be a demonstration before the elections but shouldn't this be inclusive of all groups and political parties. Surely for the success of a demonstration and campaign generally this is obvious? It is a mystery.

Recently Right2Change spokespersons in Donegal are jumping the gun in the local media. They are pushing Right2Change's agenda insisting all sign up to their manifesto and if you don't or even have misgivings you will be ostracised.  Does this mean that even though a candidate is of the highest calibre, who is against water charges, Irish Water etc, and one who should be in office, that we will be told not to vote for them and instead vote for someone who is not capable?  What happens if this capable candidate supports the boycott, and 1Yi but does not sign up to the manifesto?
Anyone can sign up to anything to get elected. This has been demonstrated time and time again.  When elected all those election promises are forgotten, something similar to Fine Gael and Labour the last time out.  This is not a mystery. It is ridiculous and a fundamental flaw.


The Nobel Peace Prize winner, the sewage plant and Irish Water

 Glenburnie Beach, Moville, Inishowen, Co Donegal

Glenburnie Beach, Moville, Inishowen, Co Donegal

The European Commission could scupper Irish Water’s plan to build a controversial €13 million sewage plant next to Nobel laureate John Hume’s Donegal home

Hume’s wife Pat told this newspaper that the house at beautiful Glenburnie Beach in Carnagarve had been “a lifesaver” for her husband during dark times and the threat of the sewage plant had been “devastating”.

But a European Commission official investigating the matter has raised concerns about the way Irish authorities approved the project, according to correspondence seen by this newspaper. It is another potential complication in Irish Water’s task to end serious raw sewage problems afflicting 44 Irish urban areas.

The embattled state water company has planning permission from An Bord Pleanála for a sewage plant at the site on Lough Foyle to cater for a population of 8,800 in nearby Moville and Greencastle. But locals have fought for a decade to have the plant moved out of Lough Foyle to a site on the nearby Atlantic coastline.

 John Hume and his wife Pat pictured in Derry earlier this year Picture: James Whorriskey

John Hume and his wife Pat pictured in Derry earlier this year Picture: James Whorriskey

“There is a horrendous problem with raw sewage going straight into the rivers,” said Enda Craig, who has led the fight. “People in Moville and Greencastle have to live with the smell and the rats so it is understandable some want it put anywhere at this stage. But Carnagarve Beach is beautiful and the wrong place for this.”

John Hume’s wife Pat agreed, describing Irish Water’s proposed solution as “shortsighted”.

“John and I are both getting well on in years but we think of our children and grandchildren,” she said, explaining they bought the house “after a very bad period” in 1987 when their house in Derry and two cars were firebombed.

“Very few people went to this part of Inishowen because you had to come through British army checkpoints so properties were very reasonable. It’s the best thing we ever did. It has really been a lifesaver. ”

“This is one of the most beautiful coastal pathways in Ireland,” she said. “To jeopardise it in any way is wrong and shortsighted. This magnificent shore walk is one of the big things it has to offer and it would be a terrible shame if it was jeopardised when other alternatives exist.”

Following the loss of a judicial review in 2013, local objectors took their case to Europe. They claimed a failure by the Irish government to transpose the EU’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) directive into law had allowed the Donegal sewage plant to be granted planning permission ahead of the granting of an EPA discharge licence and proper assessment of the impact of a 300 metre long sewage outfall into Lough Foyle.

Irish Water said it is advancing the project to comply with wastewater regulations and a EPA discharge licence. It expects to tender the project in the next 12-18 months.

A Department of the Environment planning official dismissed the concerns in an email to Craig saying that “the Department understands that the EC [European Commission] is satisfied that the EIA Directive has been transposed satisfactorily in this regard.”

But a senior Commission official tasked with monitoring Ireland’s compliance with EU environmental law wrote last week in an email seen by this newspaper that “we are of the view that the EIA Directive applies in a case such as Moville in that an EIA screening process was required. We will be discussing this issue with the Irish authorities over the coming weeks.”

Saga

The email is just the latest twist in a saga that has run since plans were first put in place to build the plant in 1989. Following local consultation, a site outside the Foyle Estuary was eventually chosen in 2003.

But this was suddenly dropped two years later in favour of Carnagrave Beach, a site subsequently rejected three times by an An Bord Pleanála planning inspector. It is believed locally that the British crown still lays claim to the seabed right across the lough from Derry to the Co Donegal shoreline, which, objectors predict, could cause issues if construction proceeds.

In 2006 the Port and Harbour Authority in the area objected to the plant’s proposed 650-metre effluent outfall pipe running beneath the nearby busy navigation channel. But instead of abandoning the proposed site, the county council cut the outfall length to 300 metres. Objectors claim this greatly increases the risk of effluent being washed back onto the shore.

A hydrographic report prepared for Donegal County Council attempted to dispel this fear saying treated sewage would be pushed out of the mouth of the estuary by strong currents. But a senior oceanographer engaged by locals produced a report to say that the sewage, including raw sewage at certain times, would indeed be pushed onto the shoreline twice a day by the tide.

Meanwhile, locals applied to Donegal County Council to have Carnagrave Beach officially designated as a bathing location under EPA rules, possibly forcing the relocation of the plant.

But the local authority, which directed all queries from this newspaper on the project to Irish Water, refused to grant the bathing designation saying it preferred to allocate scarce resources to existing Blue Flag beaches in the county.

By Fearghal O’Connor Sunday Business Post Aug 9, 2015


The Campaign for a Clean Estuary in Inishowen says indications coming from Europe are that their challenge against a Sewage Treatment Plant at Carnagarve near Moville will be adjudicated on later this year.
It follows a Sunday Business Post report that EU officials have expressed concern at elements of the plan, and the way the location was determined.
Campaign spokesperson Enda Craig says this is potentially very significant………


Save the Foyle THE SOLUTION

 Click Image to go to Save the Foyle web page

Click Image to go to Save the Foyle web page

The sewage plant and pipe should go north of Greencastle (as was decided by council motion of 1990) where the effluent can be treated and discharged into the open sea. THE RIGHT PLANT IN THE RIGHT PLACE


WATER PROTESTERS BANNER ABOUT ENDA KENNY DESCRIBED AS ‘DISGUSTING’

  A poster unfurled by water protesters in Glenties yesterday evening has been described as 'disgusting' and 'deplorable.'

A poster unfurled by water protesters in Glenties yesterday evening has been described as 'disgusting' and 'deplorable.'

Up to FIFTY water activists protested as Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited the annual MacGill Summer school.
However, the poster they made was a deeply personal attack on the Taoiseach which purported that the banner was written by his dead mother.

The poster read, ""Kenny a message for you, from guess who?? I lie here in my grave, restless, distraught, in tears and despair as I unable to stop you rob cheat and lie to the Irish people.
"Please stop before it too late so I can RIP Your Mother. Bye".

The message has been widely condemned with many people taking to social media to express their disgust at the poster - with many saying the poster has brought shame to the county.

Breda O'Donnell wrote, "Bringing the good name of Donegal down with this disgusting banner. Lowest of the low.

Frank Smith said, "As much as I despise Enda Kenny, that is plain disgusting.

Donál Brennan wrote, "This is like something you'd see from the lovely people in the Westboro Baptist Church.
"It proves the whole water protest movement has lost credibility due to it being hijacked by trouble makers and thugs with zero cop-on or intelligence.

Patrick McGinley said, "They don't represent the normal people of Donegal
"We don't lower ourselves to those levels.

Sharon Leonard said, "Not going to attend any more water charges protests after seeing this, I cannot stand Enda Kenny, but this was obviously done by sick people.

However, there are still some defending the poster's message and the stance taken by the small group of water protestors.
Austin O'Meara said, "If you find that banner more offensive than people dying on trollies because of cuts made by Enda's government who stood by and let people die only to take inheritance tax off them and send that money to bail out the entire European banking system.

"All the while crying poverty and cutting vital services so we can send €650 million per year out on foreign aid with no chance of getting it back, paying private debt with public finances.

"I don't know of the circumstances of his mothers death but I would be certain enough she was never on a trolley in a corridor.. To those complaining about this banner do you really find it more offensive than the utter contempt this man's government holds the Irish people in.

What are you thoughts have the water protestors brought shame on Donegal??

Article by Donegal Daily July25, 2015


The Following Is An Article In Donegal Daily Right2Water Chairperson Defends The Banner

RIGHT2WATER DONEGAL DEFENDS USE OF ‘THAT BANNER’

Enda Kenny's visit to the Mc Gill Summer School brought with it much media attention, not least his remarks about a Sinn Fein/Independents coalition being a freak show.

However, it was the protest outside the Highlands Hotel that brought the most controversy.
A certain banner was singled out for special attention by the National media.

 Charlie McDyer Right2Water Donegal

Charlie McDyer Right2Water Donegal

Right2Water chairperson Charlie Mc Dyer explained “this banner has been around for quite some time and while I don’t condone the message it displays, it is not within our powers to patrol every banner or placard that people bring to protests”.

The banner, claiming to be a message from Mr Kenny's deceased mother has caused a furore on social media with people divided in their opinions about it.

Ms Mc Dyer continued “we live in a democracy where free speech is allowed, I find it rather ironic that people are so outraged; when inside the Highlands Hotel where Enda Kenny gave his speech, people were not allowed to ask him their own questions. His speech was scripted, as usual, and there were set questions which were not to be deviated from – where is the free speech in that instance?”

The outrage that the banner has garnered may well be justified but Charlie questioned whether the banner really is so bad.

"When the Government took medical cards away from special needs children where was the outrage? The Health Service is at crisis point with people lying on trollies for days....where is the outrage? When the Government cut lone parents payments where was the outrage? The list goes on and on. The absolute contempt that Enda Kennys coalition has shown to the people of Ireland is outrageous. We protest because we want him to see that it is the ordinary people who are suffering while the Government protects the very people that caused the financial crisis in the first place. As Enda Kenny said himself 'this is about more than water"

Original Article Donegal Daily, July 27, 2015