Cllr Elaine McGinty and Deputy Ged Nash launch the River Boyne Task Force Bill.
Reacting to the deteriorating quality of the water in the River Boyne and in support of recent campaigns such as “Save the Boyne”, the Labour TD for Louth and East Meath, Ged Nash is to present a new Bill to the Dáil that seeks to protect the future of the region’s most precious natural resource – the Boyne River.
The draft legislation is the brainchild of Meath Councillor Elaine McGinty and Deputy Nash will present the Bill seeking to establish a task force for the ongoing management, enhancement and protection of the Boyne.
The Taskforce will co-ordinate the efforts of four separate councils, regulators, government, Irish Water, local landowners, NGOs and community activists, for the benefit of this vital local waterway.
Cllr Elaine McGinty (Lab) explained the genesis of the Bill : “Over the last year I have worked with inspirational campaigners from all walks of life in groups like Save the Boyne and others to identify how we can improve the water quality and biodiversity of the river. I have listened carefully to those who live, work and depend on this river every day.
Advertisement - continue reading below
“We have all seen with our own eyes the deterioration in the water quality of the Boyne and the EPA is not mincing its words when it says that the quality of the water in the Boyne and our rivers nationally is not good enough. We have to take action and fast.
“All of the wastewater treatment plants that operate along the Boyne must be reviewed and upgraded at a minimum. We need to look at the new reality of what exactly this river can handle so that we do not destroy it.”
The Labour councillor adds: “We need to legislate, plan and, more importantly, act for the here and now and not base any future planning applications on past data. We need our pollution standards and water directives to be implemented in full.
“This Bill is about saving the river from us, our generation, and ultimately preserving and improving it for future generations.”
Deputy Nash explains the urgency of the Bill: “For too long we have turned our back on the River Boyne. Since Drogheda’s foundation, the river was the very lifeblood of our community and we need to value it and protect it properly.
“Neither have we treated our river and the flora and fauna that depends on a healthy waterway, with the respect it deserves. Pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change are the prices we are paying for years of neglect.”
The Labour TD says: “This Bill, if enacted will provide for one key statutory voice and power for the Boyne. It will establish a Task Force with legal status which will involve all local authorities in the catchment area, experts and local interests to help determine the future of our river from an environmental, social, economic and cultural perspective.
“I will bring the Boyne Task Force Bill to First Stage in the Dail in the coming weeks and Cllr. McGinty and I with our Labour colleagues will continue a process of engagement on the Bill with local groups and activists who care about our river.”
Rising in Co Kildare, The Boyne River flows through the counties of Offaly, Meath and Louth. It is arguably the most historically significant river in the country as it winds its way through the landscape of Irish history and pre-history, daring back as far as the first settlers in Ireland.