Northern Ireland news

Agriculture ministers "shocked" by peat slide damage

Irish Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConaglogue was joined by his Stormont counterpart, Edwin Poots at the scene of last weekend's huge bog slide in County Donegal.
Seamus McKinney

AGRICULTURE Minister Edwin Poots travelled to Co Donegal yesterday to view the damage caused by a huge peat slide which has polluted rivers on both sides of the border.

Mr Poots met his Irish government counterpart Charlie McConalogue on the site of a wind farm where the landslide occurred at Meenbog, Ballybofey.

The peat slide started within the site of the windfarm which is under construction and caused widespread damage to the River Derg and the Mourne Beg River.

Pollution caused by the bog slide has already impacted on fish populations in the two rivers as well as the Corgary trout farm.

All work at the wind farm has been stopped with the exception of efforts to reduce the threat of further landslides.

Mr Poots said the scale of the damage was shocking with “substantial” ongoing damage to the Corgary trout farm.

“It is clear that this peat slide has had an immediate impact on fish and the ecosystems upon which they rely but until conditions permit, it is not possible to quantify that impact,” he said.

Following the peat slide last weekend, a large-scale cross border operation has been launched to limit the risk of further damage, Mr Poots said.

Mr McConalogue, who is also a TD for Co Donegal, described yesterday's visit as “really worthwhile”.

The minister said: “I was also pleased to see the speed with which the cross border multi-agency group was established in response to this incident and it was helpful to get a briefing from them on the work they are doing collaboratively to support efforts to mitigate against any further pollution.”

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