Swimming ban at Ballyloughane branded ‘a disgrace’

Commitments 'made years ago' for works to prevent further pollution not carried out - Cllr Terry O'Flaherty

Ballyloughane Beach.

Ballyloughane Beach.

Bathing water at Ballyloughane Beach remains unfit for use because long standing commitments for remedial and repair works on two storm outflow drains - which pump water into the area - have not been carried out.

This is the allegation being mnade by Independent city councillor Terry O'Flaherty, who said the recently imposed swimming ban on Ballyloughane Beach, following classification of it's water as "poor", had come "as a big blow and a disappointment" to all who use the beach.

Ballyloughane has long been considered unfit for bathing, and assessments made over the past four years, along with regulations laid down by the Environment Protection Agency, saw the water receive its "poor" rating and a swimming ban was put in place and will remain in force for the rest of the year.

Cllr O'Flaherty said the situation could have been prevented if "commitments made years ago" for works to prevent any pollution from local outfall drains had been carried out.

In 2014, Cllr O’Flaherty and Galway West TD Noel Grealish held a meeting on the issue with senior Irish Water officials Ray O’Dwyer and Tim O’Connor, along with the Galway City Council's chief executive Brendan McGrath, head of finance Edel McCormack, and senior engineer Ray Brennan. It was agreed the water quality would be monitored for a number of months, and funding would be prioritised by Irish Water for any remedial works required to resolve the ongoing pollution problem from the three outfalls flowing into Ballyloughane.

A report was published indicating works had been carried out on the Michael Collins Road Combined Storm Outflow, but the Beech Avenue CSO requires substantial works, and investment and the Murrough Outfall is likely to be affected by cross connections further up the network, which requires a more detailed examination.

According to Cllr O'Flaherty, commitments were given that works would take place "to eradicate this problem in its entirety", and she also tabled a motion calling on the council to make "every effort" to ensure remedial works were carried out "without delay".

Cllr O’Flaherty said she was now calling on the city council to issue a report on the works carried out to date and to explain why the ban should not be lifted, saying it was very unfair to the people using this facility on the east side of the city. “It’s a disgrace," she said, "that years later, the problems are still there.”

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