There are more than 150 unauthorised quarries across Ireland, it was revealed on Wednesday. Permission for quarries is given or refused on a number of grounds including how much environmental damage they’re likely to cause but RTÉ Investigates has found that the system is full of loopholes, delays and grey areas, resulting in Ireland’s environment being put at risk. The programme shows how even when a quarry is deemed to be unauthorised and has been served with enforcement notices it doesn’t mean they can’t continue operating.
The findings of a nationwide survey of local authorities carried out by RTÉ Investigates shows that 151 quarries are deemed to be unauthorised developments with Donegal, Kerry and Cork being the worst culprits.
A Donegal Council report noted there is a “potential risk of contamination of groundwater” arising from this dredging.
While Dr Pat Moran, an ecologist said: “They are operating in a Natura 2000 site which is protected by domestic and European legislation. So that is going to be impacting on a lot of the flora and fauna. Its got no planning permission, there is no monitoring, there is no mitigation measures.”
Balcarrig Quarry in Co Wexford is another unauthorised quarry. Local resident Michael Tighe told RTÉ Investigates: “The quarry is over there and it’s less than 200m away. “Whenever they are blasting her the whole house is being shook, the 6 year old is afraid of her life of it. She knows if there is a blast she wants to get into the car and get out of here.”