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Four months on, there’s no progress on sinkhole

February 25th, 2020 5:05 PM

By Jackie Keogh

The massive sinkhole which appeared in Allihies last October. (Photo: Anne Marie Cronin)

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THE massive sinkhole that was discovered in Allihies four months ago is still not filled in.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has yet to formally respond to the emergency situation in Allihies, where the massive sinkhole has led to a road closure.

Area engineer Ruth O’Brien confirmed that there has been no official response to the incident that occurred in October 2019, but she said she had met with a representative from the Department.

The engineer was answering questions on the issue after Cllrs Danny Collins (Ind) and Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) tabled a motion requesting an update at a recent meeting, and sought that adjoining roads be reopened.

Cllr Murphy told Council officials: ‘This is a big issue in Beara. The Department should have taken a more active role. The fact that the Department hasn’t replied is unacceptable.’

The councillor, from Beara, said local people trying to access their homes, farmland, and holiday homes are being forced to take a boreen to circumvent the sinkhole that is reported to be 380m deep and 20m to 30m in diameter.

‘Tourists,’ he added, ‘are completely at a loss when trying to drive to Allihies village, and the problem is only going to get worse as we go into the summer.’

In her report, the engineer said: ‘The Council has determined what surveys are necessary to establish the extent of the undermining under the public road in Allihies, following the collapse of a mine shaft in the area, and we are currently waiting for a cost estimate for carrying out these surveys.’

Ruth O’Brien said funding for these surveys would also have to be sourced because the Council’s ‘normal maintenance budgets would not cover the cost.’ She said: ‘The health and safety of road users is of paramount importance to Cork County Council and therefore we await confirmation that the road is safe, prior to reopening the closed sections.’

Cllr Murphy suggested that two adjoining roads could be reopened to make access easier, but the area engineer said that while there are no recorded mine shafts under these roads, there are underground workings in that area.

Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said he knows of one farmer who has to travel five miles out of his way every time he wants to access his land. He said action is needed to remedy the situation as soon as possible.

The Council engineer informed the members of the West cork Municipal District that the local authority is still trying to establish who is the legal owner of the long-defunct copper mines because that person or entity could have some responsibility in rectifying the situation.

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