The Head of Environment presented the above report, a copy of which had previously been circulated. He pointed out that the purpose of the report was to advise Members of the monthly update from DAERA on progress in relation to Mobuoy Road remediation.
Councillor Durkan referred to the fact that this was the first meeting which had taken place since the meeting with the Minister for Environment regarding this matter. She referred to the issues addressed with him regarding the Public Inquiry. She said it was becoming more evident that this was a cross cutting issue which involved numerous Departments. She felt this issue required a wider Executive response. She suggested that Council write to the Executive Office and this correspondence be copied to relevant Ministers including DAERA, DfI, Justice, Health, Communities and Finance. She also referred to the potential cross-border issues which added to the cross-cutting nature of this issue. She said it was not about pinpointing individual Ministers but the Executive as a whole taking responsibility for the remedial and strategic response which included a fact finding inquiry. She said little had changed since March 2014 when there was cross-party support for the need for such an inquiry. She said Mobuoy was just one example and was about the wider policy and practice of illegal waste across the North. She said it was important that the Executive accepted responsibility for remedial measures and assurances and strategic recommendations. She also referred to the need to avoid a repetition and to anticipate future problems and pre-empt and prevent these. She said it was important to have the full Executive involved as an inquiry would scrutinise information from all relevant authorities both in the Republic of Ireland and in the UK including the Crimes Agency and HMRC. She continued that the Minister’s response was to focus on looking forward. However, a Public Inquiry was required in order to move forward totally because recommendation and remedy would be informed by such an exercise.
Councillor Carr concurred with the sentiments expressed by Councillor Durkan.
Councillor McCann referred to the need for the facts to be established in a formal manner and to consider the wider implications in regards to this. He said he had been part of a non-Council delegation to lobby the Minister in recent weeks regarding the need for justice. He said the Minister had recently indicated to The Gathering that he had already spoken to the Republic’s Minister for Environment on this issue together with the issue of cross-border waste and would have further discussions on the matter through the North West Ministerial Council. He emphasised that if a stakeholders group was to be established it must include and involve those with an in-depth knowledge and experience of the Mobuoy problem including representatives from the Enagh Youth Forum. He referred to the considerable number of green spaces in the greater Derry area some of which were quite lavish which were a tribute to Council and the realisation of such beauty ought to emphasise the ugliness created by criminal private enterprise at Mobuoy. He referred to the minutes of a meeting which had taken place with representatives from The Gathering and the Minister and various other NIEA representatives and suggested forwarding a copy to all Members, if they so wished.
Councillor Fleming referred to the issues discussed at the recent meeting with the Minister for Environment. He concurred with the comments made by previous speakers’ regarding his disappointment at the lack of progression in terms of a Public Inquiry. He stated that there were a number of different aspects to this including remediation and bringing the facility back into public use. However, there was still a need for a Public Inquiry not least in terms of lessons being learnt for the future safety of the environment. He stated that a Public Inquiry remained a priority for his Party. He acknowledged the importance of the remediation of the site and referred to the need for a stakeholder group to include representatives from across the board including the local community and experts in this field.
Recommended (a) that Council write to the Executive Office and the correspondence is copied to relevant Ministers including DAERA, DfI, Health, Communities and Financing requesting that a Public Inquiry be carried out in regards to the situation at Mobuoy Road; and
(b) that Members endorse the governance arrangements as proposed by DAERA.