Thursday, 22 September 2022
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Barry Ward (Fine Gael)
Not for the first time in this House I want to raise the issue of water quality in Dublin Bay and the coastal waters off Dublin. For the last two weeks there has been a "No bathing" advisory notice at Killiney beach because of an overspill from a sewage treatment plant there. That should not happen and it has had serious consequences for people who had events planned. I know of swimming events planned for Killiney beach last weekend which could not take place. The advisory notice will remain in place until tomorrow, at least, as we await the results of sampling. However, I do not understand why, when the advisory notice applies to Coliemore Harbour, Hawk Cliff and Killiney beach, it does not apply to the Forty Foot, which is less than 1 km up the coast, or to Sandycove, Blackrock or Seapoint. It does not apply to them and I do not understand how that works.
What I do know is that nothing has happened to secure water quality in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin Bay and along the coast of Dublin. We have not improved the screening of water that leaves the Poolbeg facility or other sewage treatment facilities in the county. We do not have 24-hour UV screening of that material and we do not have provisions in place to prevent overspills from sewage facilities. We do not have proper water quality in Dublin Bay and it is not good enough. This has been going on for far too long and there seems to be some kind of frozen inaction at departmental and local authority level. I do not know that is the fault of the local authorities because they are dependent on resources and directions from Irish Water and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage but nothing is happening. We know how much these facilities are used. We know that far more people are now swimming in the sea and how good it is for them, for both their mental and physical health. Let us try to make progress on this. We must schedule a debate on water quality. I ask the Leader to invite the relevant Minister to have a discussion about what needs to be done, how it can happen, why it is not happening and when it will happen.