€100k order on unsafe quarry

The owners of a quarry in Portlaoise town have been ordered to clean up the site and set aside €100,000 to cover the costs involved.

The owners of a quarry in Portlaoise town have been ordered to clean up the site and set aside €100,000 to cover the costs involved.

Laois County Council issued the enforcement notice to Dan Morrissey (IRL) Ltd, with an address in Benekerry, Co Carlow on September 2. The company have one month from that date to respond to the council’s enforcement notice served in relation to a site off the Timahoe Road near the new schools.

Under the notice the council want Morrissey’s to lodge a cash deposit of €100,000 or a bond of an insurance company of the same value in relation to the restoration and making the site safe.

They are also required to submit a landscape and restoration plan for the site at Downes, Portlaoise.

Morrissey’s have also been told to submit a proposal for the provision of a fence around the full perimiter of the site which will prevent livestock and people from trespassing on the site.

They are also required to submit a proposal on how they will remove the soil and overburden and reinstate the land to the satisfaction of the council, which must be confirmed in writing.

The builder waste, rubbish and debris for which the site owners did not have permission to dump at the quarry must also be removed.

If Morrisey’s fail to carry out the work to make the safe site and reinstate it, the council have the power under the enforcement notice to enter the site, carry out the work and then recover any costs incurred from the owners.

Morrissey’s already owe the council €200 in costs and expenses relation to the detection and issue of the enforcement notice.

In the notice, which was signed by senior planner, Angela McEvoy, the council said it is necessary to take “urgent action...due to the serious public health and safety issues associated with the site.”

Over the last few years, the area has become popular for walking dogs and this summer young people swam in the ponds to escape the heat of the summer sun.

Sinn Fein TD, Brian Stanley, welcomed the council’s action.

“I made representations to Laois County Council about this unauthorised development and I am happy to see action has now been taken by the Planning Department.

The quarry presented a serious public health and safety risk, especially to children in the area, and this action by LCC will address these concerns,” he said.