Government response to Magheracloone mine collapse “Not Good Enough” – Matt Carthy MEP
SF rep calls for emergency road funding
Matt Carthy MEP has described the response of government, and particularly the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, following the recent mine collapse in Magheracloone as “not good enough. The Sinn Féin representative claimed that a response received by him by Junior Minister, Seán Kyne, was deferential to Gyproc rather than committing to the independent appraisal of all mines in the area which Sinn Féin have called for.
Meanwhile Matt Carthy confirmed that he has also made an urgent appeal to transport Minister Shane Ross to establish an emergency fund to tackle the road issues resulting from the fallout of the recent Magheracloone mine collapses.
Matt Carthy said:
“Following the recent mine collapses I wrote to Minister Denis Naughten urging that a full independent appraisal of the mine network in Magheracloone be commissioned by his department. Minister Naughten replied to state that he was passing responsibility to his junior minister, Seán Kyne.
“In his response Minister Kyne continuously defers to Gyproc in terms of their own initial investigation of the recent collapse and their historical role in monitoring the subsidence risks at their own sites.
“It is not appropriate for the responsibility to monitor and appraise the risks involved to rest with the owners of the site. Concerns that this type of event was possible have been raised by many people in Magheracloone, especially those living above or nearby Gypsum’s network of mining passages, for several years. These concerns were continuously dismissed.
“It is now essential that people in the area are provided assurances that the remaining mine sites are safe. Quite frankly this assurance cannot be adequately provided by Gyproc and only be delivered through a comprehensive and independent investigation. I had called on Minister Naughten to deliver this as a matter of urgency.
“That he chose to pass the buck to his junior minister is worrying, that the junior Minister in turn appears content to allow the company involved to essentially monitor itself will be unsettling for many residents.
“I have re-written to Minister Naughten calling on him to personally intervene to initiate the required independent investigation of all mine sites in this area. The community in Magheracloone deserve no less.”
Matt Carthy has also confirmed that he has written to transport Minister, Shane Ross, calling on him to allocate any necessary funding to ensure that all roads in the area are fully restored. Subsequent to the Gyproc Mine Collapses, a section of the R179 has been closed resulting in unprecedented volumes of traffic being diverted via local roads throughout Magheracloone resulting in the rapid deterioration of road surfaces that were already in poor condition.
Carthy said: “Thousands of heavy goods vehicles are now using these narrow local roads. The road surfaces have been completely destroyed and are now reaching a critical point where they are becoming impassable.”
“I am aware that Monaghan County Council will be making a claim for the damage caused but an Emergency infrastructural Fund is required as a matter of urgency. This was an unprecedented event. The road maintenance budgets of Monaghan County Council are nowhere near sufficient to address the amount of remedial work required on this network of roads.
“The local roads both north and south of the R179 are now in a very dangerous condition. A combination of bad road surfaces, over grown hedgerows and increased levels of road users has left many residents worried that serious accidents are imminent.
Carthy concluded: “I have written to Minister Ross asking him to put an emergency fund in place as soon as possible to address these critical infrastructural issues.”