Ballyboughal, Fingal North Co Dublin. Est Feb '08

Audio: Greater Dublin Drainage Project @fingalcoco


Greater Dublin Drainage – Peter O”Reilly (mp3)

This evening I spoke with Peter O’Reilly, Project Manager of the Greater Dublin Drainage Scheme at a public consultation in Fingal County Council head office in Swords.

You will also find a new category on the right hand side of this blog where all Greater Dublin Drainage info will go. More info as it comes in.

In this case and to this post, most of the detail is in the audio anyway which is also on Ballyboughal’s facebook/ twitter page.

More details:


  1. Hi again!
    great work on your audio file – it’s a useful starting point in this whole debate.

    I still have a difficulty about the community not being informed in a concrete manner on this issue though. I was up at the polling station today and just did a quick ‘vox pop’ of locals. One person, who lived near one of the proposed sites’got a map recently'(but didn’t know about it before this). One person commented that a neighbour (farmer) was suprised to receive a registered letter (about his land). Someone else mentioned that they had heard of a public meeting which was being arranged in Ballyboughal Hall – no idea when this was due to take place. Another person had not heard. One person had heard something about it recently but didn’t feel they were particularly up to date on it …

    I thought I would look at the original consultation process spoken about by Mr. O’Reilly – here is the link to the actual notice issued by Fingal Co. Co. on 2/2/2011 (according to their notice) – there is a bit of a discrepancy between the 4 week period and the end of the consultation process but we’ll set that aside at the risk of sounding petty (

    We hear that the media is in difficulty as newspaper sales continue to fall – readers resorting to using freely available alternatives – internet etc for their news so I suppose the reactions from residents are understandable. I wonder what other mechanisms beside newspaper publication were used to get across the message of the current round of consultation – perhaps the consultants/fingal cc would like to comment in this regard.

    If this issue is to be handled by any community in a critical fashion, perhaps it might be an idea to investigate the history of the project – set emotion to the side and work off facts. To do this, you will need to go back to 2001 when the project started. Have a look at the study commissioned by Dublin City Council which identified Portrane as the site for this project. Waste water – to the consultants – effluent treatment to those who will live with it! The link to a relevant document is The document is only 9 pages long but it will give an indication of the amount of work, man hours and the expense that was entered into to identify two possible sites out of the whole of Dublin for this plant. Will this degree of care and attention be given when making the final decision on the new site I wonder?

    Next the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage environmental Study 2008 –,30840,en.pdf – This is a very big (and expensive – see below) document running at over 200 pages but anyone wishing to query and fully partake in this consultation process might need to be familiar with its contents.

    Some issues which would be of concern would include:
    Disruption (services, noise, odour, visual, dust and traffic etc.) to local populations adjacent to the construction site or along routes used by construction traffic;
    Disruption and temporary severance caused by the construction of the orbital pipeline;
    Impact of discharges of treated effluent on the receiving coastal waters, designated bathing waters,designated shellfish waters and the ecosystems upon which they have a significant influence (especially European designated sites);(Where will this reach the sea – what about blue flag status?)
    Visual and nuisance impacts on enjoyment of local and residential amenities;
    Potential impacts of birds, rodents and insects during the operational phase of the development; and
    Potential odour and noise nuisance sources during the operational phase of the development. Mr. O’Reilly speaks about the issue of possible landscaping of facility – how will possible odours be coped with. It will be a bit late down the road if we discover a difficulty when the place is built. Conformation to European Standards while running computer models is one thing – lived reality is another.
    How did the proposed sites cope with the recent flooding? Mr. O’Reilly talks about a drainage area around the plant.

    This (effluent) treatment plant will be handling waste from the following areas Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin, Dun Laoghaire- Rathdown and the adjacent catchments in Counties Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.

    In relation to costs, here is the relevant extract from FCC minutes from last June (link)
    Question: Councillor C. O’Callaghan
    “To ask the Manager the value of the contract awarded to Jacobs/Tobin to carry out the technical aspects of the site selection process for a regional sewage plant in North Dublin as part of the Greater Dublin Drainage project and how long is the contract for and what has been the overall amount of money spent on the Greater Dublin Drainage project since its inception (i.e. the cost in preparing the GDSDS report and the costs to date)?”

    “The Greater Dublin Drainage (GDD) Project, which is the largest drainage project currently being planned in the country, will provide a long-term drainage solution to cater for both existing & future development in the Greater Dublin Area.
    The Project will include:
    a Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and associated marine outfall located at a site in the northern part of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), and
    an Orbital Drainage System (ODS) linking the Regional WWTP to the existing regional sewer network and providing for future connections for identified developing areas within the catchment

    Fingal County Council is acting as the Contracting Authority on behalf of Meath, Kildare, Dun Laoghaire /Rathdown and South Dublin County Councils and Dublin City Council. Due to the Regional nature and large scale of this project, Fingal has appointed Jacobs / Tobin as Engineering Consultants for the Full Planning Stage of the Project up to and including obtaining Planning / Statutory approval and assisting the Contracting Authority in the acquisition of the necessary sites and wayleaves.

    The appointment will be for 24 months and the fixed price contract sum is €1,486,073 exclusive of VAT. The cost of this engagement is covered by the grant from the Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government for the Planning Stage of the GDD.

    This project – Greater Dublin Drainage – is a key recommendation of the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study (GDSDS) Final Strategy which makes a number of recommendations for an overall environmentally sustainable drainage strategy for the Greater Dublin Area. The overall cost of the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study was €14.9m which was funded by the National Development Plan.”

    Web link for Jacobs Tobin:

    That’s a heck of a lot of money spent and still no closer to even starting the project! A few questions come to mind:
    – How independant will any evaluations (ecological etc) be when carried out by a contractor on behalf of the contracting authority?
    – Does anyone else feel that perhaps this is now being rushed through?
    – Back in 2001 a figure of €152m was put on placing the treatment plant in Portrane (see page 7 of the second link mentioned above. This project is worth a lot of money to FCC at a time when councils are crying out for funding. It would be naive to think that just because we are in the state that we are that we can put our head in the sand on this matter. The current stage of the project (value E1.4m could not be justified in the current economic climate if there was no plan to progress it to the next stage).

    Perhaps it might be a worthwhile venture to produce further audio files to address issues with our elected representatives and with Mr. O’Reilly.

    What biting issues need to be addressed?

    Does the community need to organise itself to respond and if so how fast can this be achieved?
    I propose talking to some people in the Portrane area tonight to see how the community approached this issue. I will report back tomorrow.

  2. Helene,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and hello again to you too. I have mailed this post to Emma of Greater Dublin Drainage who I met at the public consultation and asked if she would respond……………..

    Best for now

  3. Thank you very much Helene for your comprehensive comment on the Greater Dublin Drainage project and the ongoing studies of nine potential land parcels in the northern part of the Greater Dublin Area within which the proposed regional wastewater treatment works might be located, along with a marine outfall and an orbital drainage system.

    We are very keen to make sure that as many people as possible know that the proposed new infrastructure is needed to provide sustainable and reliable drainage and wastewater treatment for the Greater Dublin Area, to meet current and future economic, industrial and residential demands, as well as to protect the environment and to meet the EU Water Framework Directive standards.

    There has been good attendance at the two Open Days held already and we hope people will attend at the two Open Days in Fingal County Council’s Swords headquarters later this week – there will be one this Thursday 3rd November (the day after tomorrow) from 2pm until 8pm and there will be another on Saturday 5th November from 11am to 4pm. The Project Team will be there to talk with people, listen to their concerns and talk to them about the studies they are doing.

    Our press release telling people that we have identified nine potential land parcels for the new wastewater infrastructure was published in the national and local media. We also placed adverts over three weeks in the national and local media, including Fingal Independent, Northside People, Metro Herald, Irish Independent, Irish Times and Evening Herald so that the maximum number of people might read them), as well as posting materials on which can also be accessed from a link on Fingal Co Council’s website homepage. A detailed presentation on this project was made at the Council Council meeting on 10th October. This meeting was streamed lived on the internet and is archived for viewing at any time on the Councils website.

    The key issue for people living near the nine identified land parcels is to know that the Project Team are assessing each land parcel as a potentially suitable location for the new wastewater infrastructure and they want to hear people’s views about each of the nine land parcels. If people know reasons why any of the nine land parcels might not be suitable, now is the time to say it.

    We will tweet the details of the Open Days this week to remind people of the dates and times – (Thursday 3rd November from 2pm to 8pm and Saturday 5th November from 11am to 4pm in Fingal CoCo’s Swords headquarters). The Project Team will meet landowners and anyone interested in meeting them, even when these Open Days are over and this non-statutory consultation finishes on 18th November.

    The project is still at an early stage and the public consultation Fingal Co Co is carrying out now is non-statutory consultation that they are carrying out to allow people to become involved in the project from the start. The local authority will go out to full public consultation again early next year, when a shortlist of potential sites will be known, following extensive study on the nine land parcels identified recently. All of this consultation will be augmented by further statutory public consultation when a planning application is finally made to An Bord Pleanála.

    It will be later next year before any planning application will be made to An Bord Pleanála. The Bord will carry out its own statutory public consultation at that time, giving people another opportunity to have their views heard and considered. The statutory environmental impact assessment and planning/licensing approval processes carried out by An Bord Pleanála and the Environmental Protection Agency will be extremely thorough and completely independent.

    Fingal Co Council wants to make sure the best location is chosen for this new wastewater infrastructure. The Project Team members are keen to talk to everyone interested in the nine land parcels that have been identified and are currently being investigated. They will welcome meeting people on Thursday and Saturday in Fingal Co Council’s headquarters in Swords.

    Please also feel free to contact this office at any time with any queries you may have in relation to the project.

    Kind regards,

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