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Monday 19 February 2018

Helicopter airlifts huge rocks to repair clifftop path

Paddy Clancy

Work to airlift giant rocks 601 metres to the top of one of Europe's highest sea-cliff paths has begun.

A Eurocopter AS350 Squirrel chopper yesterday airlifted 750 kilo bags of rock from their site off Pilgrim Path at Sliabh Liag near Carrick, Co Donegal.

Several times the operation was interrupted as winds became too strong for the helicopter to carry the bags to their destination, One Man's Path at the top of Sliabh Liag.

Just a handful of airlifts were made before the operation was paused in the hope of better weather today.

Despite fears that the scheme would severely affect the tourism season in west Donegal, several visitors made their way up as far as they were allowed to watch the few flights made by the helicopter.

It will operate a total of 20 flying hours to carry 500 tonnes of rock up for workers repairing 3.5km of an eroded mountain-top path for walkers.

Among the opponents of the operation by Donegal County Council and Failte Ireland being carried out during peak tourist time in August was locally based Independent TD Thomas Pringle.

He said the timing of the work, with parts of Sliabh closed to visitors for a week, did not make sense at this time of year.

But work bosses on the site yesterday insisted there would be only a minimum of disruption for visitors.

Aidan McGrenra, council project engineer for the Sliabh league development, said it was regrettable there would be some disruption for visitors, adding: "But it was the only time of year we could get helicopter flights to take place to ensure that the work would get done before you get into the real wintry weather."

Irish Independent

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