Protestors sending a message to An Bord Pleanala.

‘Our message is very simple, leave our waterways alone!’

A PROTEST against Meath Co Council's decision to grant permission for an industrial pipeline to discharge treated waste water from a meat plant into the River Boyne took place last Saturday morning.

The ‘Save the Boyne’ group organised the protest ‘Go with the Flow’ walk from Navan to Drogheda on the banks of the River Boyne which was aimed at raising awareness of the ongoing appeal to an Bord Pleanála, on the granting of permission by the council to Dawn Meats to install a 7.2 kilometre pipeline to pump 400,000 litres of treated waste water daily into the River Boyne at the Cotton Mills. The plans drew huge opposition locally over the impact the pumping of huge volumes of commercial treated wastewater would have on the integrity of the river and over 400 submissions were made on the plans.

A number of third party appeals have now been lodged on the plans including appeals from the Save the Boyne Group, Slane Bridge Anglers, Silver Bridge Kayak Club, Inland Fisheries Ireland amongst others.

Around two hundred people braved the elements and started out as a very wet morning in the ramparts in Navan.

The walkers headed to Stackallen where Tommy Martin of the 'Save the Boyne' group entertained the walkers for a break. Then it was on to Slane for 1.30 pm for picnic and sing songs.

Speaking to the Meath Chronicle after the riverside-walk, Aontú local representative for Laytown Bettystown, Peter Whelan said:

“The walk was initiated by a Post on the save the Boyne Facebook by Mog Downey. Mog is along with many others a great person to showcase our beautiful river and its walks.

"Everyone got behind it from Al Kelly of Al's Ts Tee Shirt Company in Drogheda who kindly printed our tee shirts for the day, Gerry Hodgers and Alan Louth, both local musicians who sang songs to entertain the massive crowd at a lunchtime picnic at Slane bridge.

"Alan Louth wrote and performed a song called “Our Beautiful River Boyne” before heading for Drogheda via Brú na Boinne."

An Bord Pleanala will make their decision in September on whether or not the Dawn Meats application will go ahead. The save the Boyne group are hoping that the many submissions and observations made by many interested parties, will be enough to make it a non-runner.

"The message the group wanted to get out was simple, leave our waterways alone. There are other options available to Dawn Meats besides pumping 400,000 litres of treated water into a protected river.

“The river Boyne is a special area of conservation and needs us the people of Louth, Meath and surrounding areas to stand up to protect it from pollution.

“We have no issue with the meat plant itself. We know there are more sustainable ways of dealing with effluent. Reed beds are being used in similar plants in this county and in Kerry.

"The fight goes on."