Residents deal with 'evil' smell stemming from Warrenpoint Port

A resident who lives just a few hundred yards away from Warrenpoint Port has described a smell which has surrounded the town for weeks as 'evil'.

Pearl Brown, who looks after seven disabled children and adults aged between 18 and 41, says she has had to close windows to stop an influx of flies entering her home.

She has had to set up extra traps in a bid to stop as many of them from remaining in her house.

The smell stems from a waste plant within the port's vicinity.

Re-Gen, the company that deals with the waste, said it recognised residents' concerns but that authorities had found no issue with their operations.

The company added that it now believes the smell to be gone and this week blamed industrial action by workers at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council on the delay to the management of the waste.

Bin collections have been impacted by recent actions from unions.

Pearl, however, said that isn't the case and that the wind keeps it drifting towards her home even if the company said it has stopped.

"You end up obviously, shutting the window," she told UTV, "but then the smell has got in.

"You have to cover your nose, but that's not normal living," she added.

She has lived in the same house for 13 years, looking after people with varying disabilities.

Even making dinner, she said, is being hampered due to the amount of flies in her kitchen.

It is a similar story a short distance away at a cafe in the town centre.

Raymond Cox runs Bric Cafe which has had a new addition added to its front doors - a fly guard.

"We are in business here 15 years, 2008 we opened, and I can safely say it has never been as bad in the past 2 months," he said.

"All of a sudden we're noticing a lot of flies.

"It is kind of embarrassing when you're serving food. If I, the owner, see it - customers see it."

UTV understands one local councillor received more than 400 complaints about the smell in just one week.

A rally was recently held in the town's main square in a bid to raise more awareness about the issue.

One of its organisers said more answers need to be given to locals as to what has happened and why the smell has lingered for so long.

"We just want answers and a civil conversation is all we want," said Kevin Gallagher.

"We want answers and for this to be resolved and for everybody to resolve it together."

A further rally is expected to take place on 18 September.

In a statement Re-gen blamed a number of factors of the strong odour.

A spokesperson said: "There are multiple factors at play in the immediate vicinity around the port, including several sewage pumping stations, increased smell from seaweed degradation and the increased temperatures at play here.

"We maintain constant presence and at least daily checks on the environmental condition of the facility. We understood at the time that there was an increased smell.

"The relevant statutory authorities assessed our site and whilst it was perceived there was a slight increase in smell which has now been dealt with, and they confirmed that they found no issue with our operations in Warrenpoint."

A spokesperson for Warrenpoint Harbour apologised for any inconvenience it may have caused and said it was confident that the issue of a smell appeared to be resolved - adding it had taken steps to prevent it happening again.

Newry Mourne and Down District Council were also approached but did not comment.

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