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‘Exactly what we were afraid of’ – inquiries launched into landslides amid fears of ‘serious pollution’

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Aftermath of the landslide near Ballybofey, Co Donegal

Aftermath of the landslide near Ballybofey, Co Donegal

Aftermath of the landslide near Ballybofey, Co Donegal

A landslide in Donegal is being classed as a “serious pollution event” after hundreds of thousands of tonnes of peat and forestry crashed down a hillside into a local river.

Agencies from both sides of the Border are working to discover the cause of the landslide at an area near Ballybofey that is planted with commercial forestry and is also the site of the Meenbog wind farm being built to supply energy to Amazon data centres.

The landslide began last Thursday evening but the extent of it only became apparent over the weekend when peat began pouring into the Mournebeg River in Co Tyrone.

Separately, Kerry County Council is investigating a landslide on a remote site on Mount Eagle which may have begun days or even weeks ago.

Staff are monitoring the Clydagh River downstream as the river provides drinking water to Brosna and surrounding areas.

Coillte said the landslide happened on private land beside one of its plantations.

“We are currently looking into the potential impact this landslide has had on Coillte property,” it said.

This is the third bog slide in five months.

In June, a major slide on Shass Mountain in Leitrim filled a river, smothered farmland and narrowly missed a number of homes.

Local residents in Donegal said they believed disturbance caused the Meenbog slide.

They said they had warned the bogs would slip when they opposed the wind farm.

“I grew up here and even as a child you knew there were parts you shouldn’t even walk on because it’s like a swamp and yet permission was given to build on it,” said Sarah Conaghan, of Finn Valley Wind Action.

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“This is exactly what we were afraid would happen.”

Meenbog Windfarm is owned by Invis Energy which has a deal to provide power directly to Amazon.

The company confirmed that a peat slippage had occurred at the site.

It added: “There is no risk to public health.

Community

"We are working with the relevant authorities to fully address the matter.

“We are grateful to the local community for their continued support.”

Donegal County Council said: “A full investigation is under way by all agencies with a focus on mitigating the impact of the event, preventing further pollution and determining the cause of the event.”


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