A Seagoe farmer has complained consistently – and without success – to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) that his land is being polluted by outflow from some of the factories in the nearby industrial estate.
Ironically Cyril McLoughlin – whose land was “seized” in the 1960s vesting of land to build Craigavon – drives past a DARD branch office at Seagoe on his way from his home to his land, “but still the pollution flows”.
He added: “To rub salt in the wound, I am a member of the government set-up group Countryside Movement Through Agriculture, which exists to protect farmland from pollution.
“I don’t spray my land with chemicals, I look after birds like pheasants and snipe, and protect the nearby River Bann. I’m very aware of the environment.
“But the chemicals and other matter that pollutes the land have affected the wildlife and has caused fish kills on the Bann from time to time. I have had to excavate a trench recently with a view to installing pipes to take the pollution away. It’s ridiculous.”
The McLoughlins have owned land at Seagoe for generations, and Cyril had around 100 acres “stolen” during the great vesting at £250 an acre, “prices dictated by the government”.
Only about half was required for the over-blown Craigavon project and – keen to retain the family tradition – he bought the remainder back “again at government dictated prices far above what we were paid for it”.
He added: “So many people were affected by the Craigavon shambles. Entire communities were destroyed and families uprooted – and for what?”
He went on: “I’m determined to have this pollution issue sorted out.
“DARD officials have discussed it with me, but it has been discussion and no action.”