Major Environmental Concerns Following Approval For Mogeely Cheese Factory Expansion

By Seamus Whelehan

Photo credit Michelle O'Driscoll

The Saleen and District Residents’ Association say they are “disappointed” Cork County Council have decided to grant conditional permission to Dairy Gold to extend their cheese making facility in Mogeely.
The East Cork Journal exclusively revealed last week that the dairy board were given the green light to increase their capacity to produce cheese at the East Cork site.
The multi million Euro development will see the facility become an international centre of excellence for cheese development.
Saleen Residents association’s press secretary, Eileen Triggs said they are considering their next move in the wake of the Cork County Council decision.
She said while the Association welcome the growth in the Mogeely site, environmental concerns are on everyone’s mind.
Part of the plan is to construct a 14 kilometre pipe running from Mogeely through to Rathcoursey West (known locally as the head of the ferry), where it will connect to an out fall pipe.
The go ahead paves the way for 290 million gallons of treated wastewater containing fats oils and grease to be released into the lower harbour annually.
The outfall is located between two protected sites for migratory birds. One to the north of the pipe, along the northern shores of the Great Island. The second just beyond East Ferry to the south at Saleen creek.
Cork Harbour and Rathcoursey East Ferry, are significantly important areas for sea bass. The species is currently protected under EU law, as its numbers have fallen below safe biological levels due to overfishing.
Ms Triggs claimed the Dairygold plan is a looming risk to the health of the river.
Neap tides and spring tides have different flow rates meaning it would be questionable if the effluent would be flushed out of the estuary sufficiently.
“If you talk to any of the older people in East Ferry they will tell you that anybody who went missing over the years was always found in the Ferry, their bodies were never taken out to sea.”
Dairygold argue that the effluent will be discharged during EBB tides with the water undergoing an 80% exchange, so a significant discharge event will meet new water coming in.
Water that does not meet the limits specified by the Environmental Protection Agency will not discharge and will be returned for further processing.
The effluent they say is classified as grey water and therefore of sufficient quality to be ideal for use in horticulture and irrigation.
The conditional planning ref 16/7031 can be appealed to An Bord Pleanala up to Thursday 31 August 2017.