WATCH: Suspected toxic waste dumped in Greencastle residential area

Harbour debris deposited at illegal landfill site near unauthorised fish processing plant

“Harbour debris” dumped at a landfill site at Adelaide Meadows in Greencastle has been removed and tractored back to Queen’s Port in the village, Donegal Live understands.

The removal operation began mid-morning yesterday (Tuesday), following complaints from local residents.

Donegal County Council was advised to engage with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM) to obtain the licences necessary to dredge Greencastle Harbour, Donegal Live can also reveal.

Following the dumping of foul-smelling “harbour debris” at an illegal landfill site in a residential area of Greencastle last week, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) confirmed it had advised the Council of such in 2018.

It has now emerged, the Council’s application for a foreshore licence to conduct dredging in Greencastle Harbour is “currently under consideration” by DAFM.

The DHPLG said: “Donegal County Council engaged in pre-application consultation with this Department in October 2018 proposing to ‘carry out maintenance dredging by plough dredging to re-establish depths within Greencastle Harbour for local fishing boats.’

“They were advised at that time that, as the matter was ‘wholly or primarily for the use, development, or support of sea fishing’, under the Foreshore Acts 1933-2009, the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine would be the appropriate Minister to consider an application.”

When contacted, the DAFM said: “In April [2020], the Department received an application from Donegal County Council for a foreshore licence to conduct dredging in Greencastle Harbour. 

“At the request of the Department further information was subsequently supplied by the Council in support of the application.

The application is currently under consideration by the Department in conjunction with its scientific and technical advisors.”

Concerned residents of Adelaide Meadows in Greencastle have subsequently contacted Donegal County Council about the dumping of the dredged “harbour debris” at an illegal landfill site within their development.

Speaking to Inish Times, the Chairperson of the Adelaide Meadows Residents’ Association confirmed the “recent, unauthorised dumping of detritus removed from the River Foyle under direction by Donegal County Council.”

He said: “This foul waste was transported to our area whilst under the supervision (or lack thereof) of Donegal County Council, subsequently resulting in a public health nuisance occurring due to the offensive odours emanating from it. This is affecting the quality of life of our residents on a daily basis.

“We have requested the said waste be removed by Donegal County Council with expediency to remove this ongoing nuisance. The responsibility for this waste lies with the Council as the waste remover from the Foyle.

“Failure to supervise the storage and removal of the waste in an appropriate manner following the dredging scheme lies squarely with those who arranged the contract to dredge.

“Specifically, in relation to the type of waste, we would ask, in advance of the dredging, was there a risk assessment conducted into the nature of the waste which was to be removed? Was an effective disposal plan put in place to ensure that it would be treated appropriately when the work was completed in accordance with the Waste Framework Directive?” said the Chairperson.

Adelaide Meadows Residents’ Association also sought clarification from Donegal County Council regarding the long-term storage of the waste.

The Association’s Chairperson said: “We would like to know from Donegal County Council whether the person/persons who deposited the waste at Adelaide Meadows had a licence to carry waste?

“Was this site approved / licenced as suitable for waste storage / disposal and is there an investigation currently being undertaken into this matter?

“The residents are naturally very upset by the matter and this uncontrolled disposal of waste, which is having such a detrimental effect on their health at this time, on top of all the other issues, which are ongoing during this Pandemic.”

The Chair of the Adelaide Meadows Residents’ Association said its members were doubly concerned about the depositing of Greencastle “harbour debris” at an illegal landfill site near their homes.

He said: “The illegal landfill site, which also contains building rubble and possibly asbestos, is in the vicinity of an unauthorised building, which has been erected immediately adjacent to Adelaide Meadows. It would appear the building is intended for the storage and processing of fish.

“On behalf of the residents, I have contacted both the Chief Executive of Donegal County Council and the Planning Enforcement Officer for Inishowen.

“Whilst we appreciate that Greencastle is a town with a fishing industry, we are of the opinion that that locating such a development, with the potential for nuisance from smell and noise, in the middle of a residential area is not desirable, particularly when considering that there are, well established, existing zones where such enterprise historically and currently takes place.

“Furthermore, nobody locally was informed or consulted on this development which was undertaken right in the middle of the coronavirus ‘Lockdown,’” he said.

There is no record of a planning application having been lodged with Donegal County Council for the development at Adelaide Meadows.

The building may be going to be used for the storage of fish, storage of fishing equipment and possibly boat building.

According to the Residents’ Association Chairperson: “The land is currently listed as Planning file 10/70519 with permission granted for an Aparthotel. The land has already been significantly built up with fill, to allow for the current structure to be erected, by the dumping of builder’s rubble from the demolition works at the Old Fort Hotel, there is concern that some of this may contain asbestos-based materials.

“It would appear that this building has been constructed without planning application or consent. This has failed to allow residents in the area to voice their opinions and/or objections to the development.

“As regards this development, Environmental Impact considerations have not been taken account of, specifically in relation to noise, odour, drainage and potentially heavy vehicle access.

On behalf of the Resident’s Association, I would greatly appreciate it if Donegal County Council would move to regularise the situation,” said the Chairperson.

At the time of going to press, Inish Times had not received a response from Donegal County Council regarding an emergency meeting this paper understands was held on Thursday to discuss the dredging of Greencastle Harbour.

A local botanist also contacted Donegal Live to say none of the Greencastle Harbour Seals had been sighted since last week’s dredging operation.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email editorial@donegaldemocrat.ie To contact Donegal Post, email editor@donegalpost.com To contact Inish Times, email editor@inishtimes.com.

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