Foyle sewerage controversy raises questions over big EU job

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams says controversy surrounding the handling of the planning process for the Carnagarve sewerage treatment plant weighs against Dublin Environment Minister Phil Hogan and his prospective appointment as EU Commissioner.

Mr Adams raised the contentious waste scheme between Moville and Greencastle in the Oireachtas on Tuesday (July 8) and said there were questions about Mr Hogan’s suitability for the big EU job.

Addressing Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Adams stated: “Recently, in what is a feature of the Government, he appointed seven former Fine Gael and Labour Party councillors to State boards, and he is also mired in controversy when it comes to the planning process.

“He appointed as deputy chairperson of An Bord Pleanála an individual who was the former technical director of RPS consulting engineers, a private company that framed a series of controversial projects which have come before An Bord Pleanála.

“The Minister also extended this person’s term of office. This individual voted to approve contentious projects on which RPS Group was a consultant, which had been rejected by An Bord Pleanála inspectors.

“These include an apartment development in Dún Laoghaire and a sewage treatment scheme in County Donegal.”

The Taoiseach replied: “The Government has changed the process of appointing State board chairpersons, and those who wish to can apply through the website for consideration for appointment to State boards.

“For the first time since the foundation of the State, persons deemed appropriate for appointment to State boards go before the relevant Oireachtas committee to bring forward the experience they offer to the board in question. It is a case of appointing to boards people with a measure of experience.”

The case against the proposed outflow pipe - which will result in sewage being pumped hundreds of metres out into Lough Foyle - has already been considered by both the Irish High Court and Brussels.
Campaigners say the pipe should be moved outside the Lough. Under the plan Donegal County Council has compulsorily purchased the foreshore 350 metres out into the Lough. Mr Hogan has claimed ownership of the bed is vested in the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This is disputed by the UK Government and Crown Estate.