WATERWAYS Ireland has insisted that dredging work being carried out on the Shannon - to clear the way into Limerick Marina - is in compliance with environmental standards.
At this week’s meeting of the City Council’s environment committee, Cllr Gerry McLoughlin demanded that the work be halted immediately saying he had photographic evidence and eyewitnesses who would say silt from the riverbed was being dumped back into the river in a manner likely to cause pollution.
Photos were supplied by the St Mary’s Maritime Project who said excavated material had been dumped back into the river rather than being loaded onto a barge and removed to the quayside.
According to Dan Hegarty, St Mary’s Maritime Project, a clause in the Waterways Ireland contract requires that “material be completely removed from the river system and will not, under any circumstances, be dumped or moved within the river section”.
“Ploughing of material with the aim of getting material into suspension and being washed downstream will not be acceptable,” the contract stipulates.
But Waterways Ireland environment officer Eamonn Horgan has insisted that the contractors were merely consolidating material into heaps for removal by barge.
“It was not safe to dig the material from the bed straight into the barge at the end of the moorings near the main flow. The contractor had no option but to dig the material out of this area and drag it back for safer loading into the barge and out of the flow where it could be safely moored,” Mr Horgan stated in correspondence with Mr Hegarty.
*A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader print edition, dated November 8, 2011