SDLP Councillor, Mary Durkan is calling for the DAERA Minister Edwin Poots to outline his reasons for refusal to initiate a Public Inquiry into Mobuoy Dump.
Cllr Durkan believes that all parties at the Assembly must challenge the Minister on his refusal, and that the Minister and the Executive should prioritise this issue with due urgency.
The Foyleside Cllr said:
“The gravity of the seriousness of public concern around the illegal dump at Mobuoy simply cannot be overstated. We have the biggest illegal dump in the whole of Europe on our own doorstep, and we have no idea of the extent of the damage and public health risks.
“At a Special Meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Environment & Regeneration Committee last week parties unanimously reiterated calls for a Public Inquiry. DAERA officials in attendance at the meeting got a full picture of the depth of public feeling, not least the palpable frustration at lack of progress on such a gravely serious situation. When questioned by Green Party MLA, Rachel Woods, this week, the DAERA Minister showed that he has no intention of initiating an Inquiry. He suggested that he wishes to focus on remediation on the back of recommendations of the Mills Review.
“The Mills Report, referred to by the Minister, was published in December 2013. Just three months later, in March 2014, the Assembly unanimously passed a motion demanding a Public Inquiry. Nothing has changed the necessity for a full and proper scrutiny of the facts and circumstances in the past six years. All the gaps still remain- gaps in facts and evidence, gaps in lessons, and accountability gaps, underpinned by a lack of public confidence. We need answers. Appropriate remediation cannot be properly addressed in the absence of a full fact-finding exercise.
“There are wider questions of public trust around the restored institutions at Stormont in this regard too. The “New Decade, New Approach” Agreement cites commitments to the North West and the tackling of Climate Emergency as priorities for the restored government. If this Executive is serious about these commitments, then it must initiate appropriate action.”