Irish Water will have to wait on a judge’s decision over whether it can proceed with plans to lay a sewage pipe through lands owned by the Duke of Devonshire and which would discharge treated waste water into Youghal Bay.
The case of Irish Water and Woodstown Shellfish Ltd ran for 14 days in the circuit court before concluding yesterday. Woodstown is the occupier of the private foreshore, owned by the Duke along with a several fishery, the title of which goes back 500 years and predates the Magna Carta.
The waste water would be discharged at Ferrypoint in Co Waterford but the pipe would begin in Co Cork. It forms part of the €12.5m wastewater treatment plant in Youghal, Co Cork, contracts for which were signed in 2015.
Woodstown has argued that were the plan to go ahead it would cause lasting damage to a special area of conservation and the mussel beds fished there, and would not be compliant with the EU Habitats Directive.
Irish Water has rejected that and in the hearing regarding a preliminary issue over compliance with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) requirements said it had adhered to all regulations in preparing for the project.
David Holland, for Irish Water, said Irish Water had a waste water discharge licence and that private and public land ownership issues needed to be disentangled.
He said an EIS was submitted and an application had been made under section 97 of the 2007 Water Services Act to allow sufficient permission to proceed. He said there were no higher rights in this case than in any compulsory purchase order case.
He said there was no evidence before the court that there will be a permanent loss of habitat, but rather a “mere assertion”.
Judge David Riordan said he was reserving his position and would give his decision on July 6.
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