Why we should be worried…


An Bord Pleanála has granted permission to Dairygold and their Norwegian Partner Tine for the construction and operation of an effluent pipe with the outflow located at Rathcoursey, at the top of East Ferry in Cork Harbour. The decision is based on the assumption that the harbour completely flushes out at every tide.

The EPA can still prevent this from happening. Please encourage them to block the pipeline by making a ‘SUBMISSION’ on the EPA website: Dairygold Co-Operative Society Ltd and TINE Ireland Ltd

Dairygold’s own modelling shows the pollution will pass into the Great Island Channel which is a designated conservation area.


The effluent is called FOG, a suspension of Fat, Oil and Grease in water. This will come from the new cheese plant in Mogeely. Dairygold and Tine have been given permission to pump 4 million litres of effluent per day 14 km into the inner reaches of Cork Harbour. This is slightly more than the total volume of effluent that has to be treated by Midleton sewage works for a population of 15,000 people.

Do you think Tine would have got permission to do the same to a Norwegian fjord?

The Water Flow in the Harbour

The University of Galway has established with computer modelling that this innermost part of the harbour takes up to 70 days to flush out.

Furthermore, current meter measurements in the North Channel show that there is an anti-clockwise flow of water around Great Island. Overall, discharges at Rathcoursey travel westwards towards Fota and Belvelly, with the immediate ebb flow down to the Lower Harbour being held before it can reach the Main Cork Channel and open sea at Dognose Bank, returning on an even stronger flood tide, driving the discharge back up East Ferry and deeper into the North Channel.

So instead of flushing out into the sea the FOG will accumulate having as yet unknown effect on the harbour and its fragile ecosystems and wildlife, but adding further nutrients to waters that have already been classed as “eutrophic” or “potentially eutrophic” every year since this water quality classification started 24 years ago.

Cork Harbour is an amazing natural resource and we must change An Bord Pleanála’s and Irish Water’s attitude to it and not allow them to treat it as a dump without taking the fullest precautions.

Many of the streams and rivers flowing into the harbour are near to nutrient overload from sewage and from farm runoff.  The plant nutrient levels in the harbour have to be reduced rather than increased. This is the stated aim of the EPA and we must give them every support in preventing this new source of polluting nutrients being discharged into the inner  harbour, which is already so dangerously close to eutrophication.

Heed the Gulf warning

We should heed the warning given by the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mississippi river is devoid of oxygen from nutrient overload and has created a dead zone in both the Mississippi Delta and 7000 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico with oxygen levels at 2 parts per million or less.

Dairygold-Tine can get a grant to pump the effluent out to their own open sea off the coast at Ballymacoda, or Ballycotton Bay, just 10 km away from them, or even using the defunct Kinsale Gas pipeline to the sea off Ballycroneen, which their pipeline actually crosses close to Bawnard Cross, where it would be safely ‘flushed away.’  


All details of the application are here on the EPA website: Dairygold Co-Operative Society Ltd and TINE Ireland Ltd

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