The lobby group, led by Enda Craig, outlined its concerns to the North’s Minister for agriculture and rural development, Michelle O’Neill, before meeting with members of Assembly Environment Committee
Mr. Craig, of the local Community for a Clean Estuary group, was joined by Dr. Karin Dubsky, coordinator of Coastwatch Europe, Dr. Trish Murphy, a Moville-based zoologist and Dr. Liam Campbell of the Foyle Civic Trust.
The campaigners were also joined by Inishowen TD Padraig MacLochlainn, an outspoken opponent of the proposed treatment plant between Moville and Greencastle.
Enda Craig, who has vowed to ‘keep fighting’ on this issue, outlined the history of the controversial sewerage scheme and the concerns of the community at Carnagarve and surrounding townlands.
Dr. Dubsky and Dr. Murphy highlighted the unique potential of the wetland eco system in the Foyle estuary from natural oysters and other shellfish to recently discovered sea grass.
They requested that the Northern Executive work with the Irish government to develop the estuary into a special international area of conservation and explained that the immense potential of all of this could be seriously undermined if Donegal County proceed with its plans to pump effluent into Lough Foyle.
Dr. Campbell said the authorities on both sides of the Foyle are in a position to further damage the estuary because of the zoning of much of it as ‘coastal’ back in 1990. He demonstrated that this zoning is erroneous and must be changed to protect the amenity of Lough Foyle.
Speaking yesterday Enda Craig said: “We brought the campaign to Stormont because they have a shared responsibility with the Irish government to protect this vital resource. It was clear that the Minister and the other Assembly members we met were moved by our presentations and they have assured us that they will pursue these matters with their southern counterparts.”
The CCE spokesman said effluent should not be released into the lough.
“There is no doubt that the appropriate location for the outflow pipe of a future sewerage scheme for Moville and Greencastle is out into coastal waters and not into the Foyle estuary. We will keep fighting because the cost of defeat is too high for all of our communities that live beside Lough Foyle”.
Deputy MacLochlainn added: “Minister O’ Neill was clearly impressed by the strength of the arguments from this eminent delegation of environmental campaigners. The history of the Moville and Greencastle sewerage scheme is one of shameful failure. Rather than develop the wonderful amenity of the Foyle estuary, Donegal County Council has given into political tomfoolery and failed everyone in the area.”