A wonderfully close knit community who cherish the place of special beauty they are fortunate enough to inhabit are facing a massive battle to protect where they live.
The whole quality of life that the people of Touraneena, Ballinamult and Ballymacarbry enjoy is now under threat.
They are locked in a David and Goliath battle to stop Fenor Pig Farms from locating a super piggery on two sites at Carrigroe and Caherbrack.
Residents believe that the ‘monstrous scale’ of the piggery will destroy the tranquil and peaceful existence they now have..
Fearful residents of the beautiful valley located between the Comeraghs and the Knockmealdowns, have lodged objections to the piggery, to Waterford County Council
The planning application for the piggery was submitted on June 25 and Waterford County Council have asked for more information.
The Concerned Residents of Touraneena and Ballinamult protest group has been formed and they intend to fight this project all the way.
The group points out that the piggery would accommodate over 30,000 pigs per annum.
Residents said the area would have to deal with an 80% increase in slurry production with 24 million litres of slurry produced annually.
They believe the super piggery would have a detrimental effect on their quality of life and have real concerns that the piggery would have harmful consequences for public and private water supply.
They say the super piggery will deny them the basic human right of fresh air, the piggery will have an adverse effect on everyday activities such as going to school, sitting out in the garden or hanging out clothes.
Their biggest fear of all is in regard to future generations who will not want to live in the area with such an industrial size piggery planted in the middle of the community.
The nearby GAA club and the primary school have both invested significantly in outdoor recreational facilities.
The GAA club, which is catering for growing numbers of juveinle members, have recently provided a new hurling wall, a walking track and an upgrade of their dressing rooms. A new astroturf facility has been provided at the school.
“If the wind is blowing a certain way the kids won’t be able to play on the GAA fields and they won’t be able to use the astroturf at school” said John McGrath.
Touraneena native John and his wife returned from Australia a few years ago to bring up their young boys in the area.
They built a new house and were looking forward to the future.
“We did not see this coming. We were very happy with the decision to come back from Australia but if this piggery gets the go ahead it will be a different matter. Anybody from the area living abroad who are thinking of coming home to settle down in this area would not dream of it now,” said John.
“They are trying to make even more money at the expense of the decent people living here in this areaIt is disgraceful. Nobody could live beside anything the size of that,” said Noel Reynolds.
Noel lives 400metres from one of the sites.
A local family operated a piggery at the sites which have been depopulated since 2018 but activities have started up again recently.
“I have to live with this every day. It is absolutely horrific. If Fenor Pig Farms get their way it is going to be on a scale so much much bigger. You hang out a white shirt on the line and its is covered in black from the spores in the air. What is proposed is so big it will destroy life as we know it over a huge area,” said Noel.
The obnoxious odour, increased traffic and concerns about the water supply have all been raised with Waterford County Council.
Fenor Pig Farms did hold a consultation meeting with locals on July 21 but residents said the meeting was held during Covid. They said the invitation to the meeting was selective and was not open to all.
Una Lonergan, who lives in Boolavounteen, said she lived minutes away from the location of the proposed piggery.
“The scale of this piggery is frightening. I am living here thirteen years and my husband is here all his life. We have young boys but when they grow up will they want to live here ?” asked Una.
“The company thought they could place it in the middle of our community .They were probably of the belief that nobody lived here but we do. It is a beautiful rural area, people can walk and cycle. If this piggery comes the stench will be unbearable and the volume of traffic will destroy the area,” said Una Mulcahy.
“This is all about putting cheap pork on Chinese tables to make even more money. It would destroy where we live.We would lose our fresh air but they don't care,” said Una Mulcahy.
FENOR PIG FARMS statement
In a statement the company said the re-development of two existing pig units at Carrigroe & Caherbrack, Ballinamult,if given the go ahead, would take about two years to complete, cumulating in a €10m+ investment, creating 100+ jobs in all related construction services.
The company envisages 10 full time jobs will be created on site (plus some supporting part-time and student work experience), with a ‘spin off’ of 75 other jobs in associated services (from supply, transport, services, processing etc).
The company said that since this licence was issued 20 years ago, Pig Production, like all areas of modern agriculture, has seen significant advances. Most of these are driven by specific consumer demand, improvements in genetics, feeding technology and of course revised animal welfare and environmental considerations.
The cpmpany said an information evening was held on site on the 21st July to fully explain the detail of the proposed plan and how many mitigation measures were in the design to allay many of the locals concerns.
“I would like to convey, that we respect our neighbours and want to be an integral part of a vibrant agricultural community in Ballinamult,” said Michael Monagle (Gen. Manager, Fenor Pig Farms.