Northern Ireland news

Monaghan sinkhole residents seek answers from mining company

Magheracloone Gaelic Football Club in Co Monaghan which was forced to shut after the collapse of a mine caused sinkholes to appear in its pitch
By Mairead Holland

RESIDENTS of a Co Monaghan parish which lost its community centre and GAA pitch after a sinkhole appeared in September were due to meet with officials last night to get "more answers".

A committee made up of concerned residents are seeking reassurances about the future of the area from local officials and Gyproc, the company whose mining activities were responsible for the collapse of the land.

The sinkhole appeared on September 24 with another hole, a crown hole, appearing in December, causing the land to subside and cracks to appear in the walls of the centre.

On RTE Radio 1 show 'Today With Sean O' Rourke', it was revealed that three of the five homes evacuated are still out of bounds, with their owners staying in alternative accommodation.

A road also remains closed while boring work is carried out.

Magheracloone Gaelic Football Club in Co Monaghan with the mining work visible in the background

Resident Bernie Collins told the programme she felt "mad, sad ... the whole parish has just been devastated".

She said she was worried about her home having been devalued and the uncertainty of insuring it in the future.

Sinn Fein Councillor Colm Carthy said there had been concerns for a number of years but that recent events had brought this this to a head and people wanted to be sure it couldn't happen again.

"We need to investigate all the old mining areas of Magheracloone ....the locals in the area feel they haven't been given enough information," he said, adding that an independent inquiry is needed.

Brian Dolan, managing director of Gyproc, said the company is committed to the area and the meeting would be an opportunity to listen to concerns and provide reassurance.

"The company will not be found wanting," he added.

He also revealed that prior to the subsidence the company had struck a 20 million Euro deal with the GAA club to buy the centre and its grounds and build state-of-the-art facilities, adding he hoped this could now go ahead earlier than planned.

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