Concern for young swimmers at quarry

One of the large stagnant water pools in a disused sandpit  close to Portlaoise Retail Park, Portlaoise, which has become a popular bathing spot for young people during the recent heatwave conditions, they are said to be quite deep and have no visible safety aids and access to the area is through fencing that has been damaged. The remains of a large dog was removed from one of these pools in the recent past.
An abandoned Portlaoise quarry has been a popular hang out place for teenagers trying to escape the heat of the sun.

An abandoned Portlaoise quarry has been a popular hang out place for teenagers trying to escape the heat of the sun.

Empty beer cans can be seen around the site and there is a fear that young people are swimming in one of the excavated pools. There are also no safety aids on the site

The Summerhill site is close to the two new school campuses which are currently under the construction on the Southern Ring Road.

Local children have nicknamed the pools of water “the powerade lake” due to its unusual blue colour, which resembles a mediterranean sea, but the reality is very different.

In September 2011, the discovery of a dead dog in the water sparked safety concerns about people walking around the water, which is at the bottom of a steep gravel mound.

Sinn Fein TD, Brian Stanley is urging parents to be aware of how dangerous the site is, and to ensure their children are not on it.

“The site of the old sandpit at Summerhill Portlaoise is extremely dangerous and needs to be rectified. There are a number of large ponds of water on this site, some of which are very deep. These are now been used by children and teenagers for swimming since the onset of warm weather. Some teenagers are drinking alcohol at this location,” Deputy Stanley said.

“The ponds are fairly deep and have a lot of silt in the bottom of them. There is also a huge sand bank which is unstable and at risk of slippage into the largest one of the ponds.

“This presents an obvious danger to children bathing, if they were to get caught in it.”

Deputy Stanley said that signs needed to be erected warning of these dangers and the site must be made safe.

“I have been in contact with Laois County Council to make them aware of it and to establish who the owner is.

“In the meantime I am urging parents to be aware of how dangerous the site is and to ensure their children are not on it.”

The ownership of the land is unclear. Anna Marie Delaney, Laois County Council said they were in private ownership and therefore not the responsibility of Laois County Council. Dan Morrissey Ltd built the road, before it was taken over by the council.