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Kilcoyne calls on Council to investigate pyrite quarries

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STRENGTH IN NUMBERSMayo pyrite protesters passing Dublin’s Liberty Hall on the way to the Custom House last month. Pic: Paul Reardon


Anton McNulty

Mayo County Council has been urged to follow the example of its counterpart in Donegal and investigate quarries that may have been involved in the manufacture of defective concrete blocks.
It recently emerged that a building firm caught up in the mica scandal in Donegal has been told to shut down one of its plants following an investigation into planning issues. Donegal County Council has also opened three unauthorised development cases in respect of other sites associated with the business.

Not satisfied
The matter was raised at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council. Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne asked the council executive if there were plans to investigate quarries in Mayo understood to have been involved in manufacturing concrete blocks containing the mineral pyrite.
“Have Mayo County Council carried out any investigations into the places where these blocks have been purchased? Have we commenced any investigation into it, and if not, do we intend to?” he asked.
When Director of Services Tom Gilligan stated that he would follow up on the status of the question, Cllr Kilcoyne said he was not satisfied.
“I would have thought that on such a serious issues that people would have been aware of it [investigation]. I want to compliment Donegal County Council on the action they are taking, but I wonder, where are we? And why are we not doing something on it?” he asked.
Chief Executive Kevin Kelly replied that he was not sure what Mayo County Council could do as an enforcement body, but said he would continue to discuss the matter with the relevant Government department.
“Not withstanding what Donegal are doing, we want to ensure the scenario that has occurred doesn’t occur again, and we will continue to liaise with the Department on what is the appropriate action to be taken,” he said.

More proactive
Cllr Kilcoyne argued that the council should be more proactive and initiate an investigation and follow the lead of Donegal County Council.
He also claimed that there were still quarries in Mayo where ‘some products are being made which are not up to the standard and not complying with the law’.
Cllr Kilcoyne was supported by his fellow independent councillor Mark Duffy who said the pyrite issue is the biggest issue facing the county, and that any malpractices and lack of regulation should be brought to its logical conclusion.
Erris-based councillor Gerry Coyle said that it is his understanding that one of the quarries  believed to have manufactured defective concrete blocks is no longer manufacturing them for the building trade.

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