Down councillor Cadogan has expressed great concern at what appears to be a major case of illegal dumping which he has reported to Down District Environment Officers and the NIEA.
Councillor Enright said that “This dump appears to involve the entire contents of the old demolished hospital buildings, Old Midwifery Unit and the stores that were knocked down to build the new hospital. It seems to have the rubble from the old Sports Pavilion from the Downshire hospital site too”.
“Any doubts I might have had that I was actually looking at the remains of the hospital vanished when I visited the site with an ex-member of staff who was able to identify parts of the building and hospital asset tags on some of the remains of the hospital on site”, said Cllr Enright”.
Cllr Enright said “I have alerted MLA Brian Wilson who is putting down questions in Stormont on this issue. We have independent confirmation of the source of the dumping, as some of the furniture has asset tags from the hospital site which I have photographed on my council-issued camera. MLA Brian Wilson and I are willing to give evidence on this.
MLA Brian Wilson said “One must assume that the contract for the demolition of the old hospital was correctly issued by the Health Board, and that they would have satisfied themselves that the old hospital and its contents were properly disposed of. We have written to the Health Board and the Minister to see what went wrong. Questions need to be asked.”
Cllr Enright said, “We can find no trace of planning permission for a dump to be operated on this site. Nor any trace of an infill licence. Brian Wilson and I have reported this and have been issued with an incident reference number 6351 and are seeking and update from the NIEA on this issue”.
MLA Brian Wilson said “There are also health issues involved, as the Lough that has been partly filled in by this dumping is the same Lough that feeds the well used by Pilgrims at Struell Wells which is variously known as St Bridget’s Well or St Patrick’s well. Downpatrick councillor Cadogan Enright has published a map on his website showing how this Lough feeds the Holy Well.” CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MAP
Cllr Enright also pointed out that, “In 2006 the Environment Agency was asked to investigate the water flow problems at Struell wells when baths at the site started drying up. I wouldn’t be surprised if this dump we have discovered has played a part in the problem as it has filled in part of the Lough flowing into the historic site.”
“For generations, the wells at Struell have been a great attraction for people seeking to benefit from the believed healing qualities of its waters. The importance of this site is profound which is clear in the history of pilgrimage to the wells and bathing house and any threat to the sites significance needs to be addressed swiftly.”
“This well is used by thousands of pilgrims and is a major tourist attraction in the South Down and Lecale areas. This incident once again points up the need for an independent environmental agency charged with protecting our natural environment and the long-term sustainability of our economy” concluded Councillor Enright.
1. The site can be found by CLICKING HERE.
2. CLICK HERE to see revevant map from the planning service – see lough at bottom centre.
3. The NIEA incident reference for this case is 6351.
4. The Wells have always been a popular place of pilgrimage for people wanting to benefit from their healing qualities – reputed to date back from the time when Ireland’s patron saint visited.
5. The historic site is managed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.