'Landslides' can't be prevented

Work in progress clearing the landslide at Mountain Stage, Glenbeigh, back
Work in progress clearing the landslide at Mountain Stage, Glenbeigh, back

Kevin Hughes

KERRY County Council says it does not have the resources to prevent further 'landslides' similar to the incident that occurred at Mountain Stage on July 28 which saw motorists gridlocked for hours when several tonnes of boulders, sand and silt slid onto the busy N70 Ring of Kerry.

Luckily no one was injured but motorists were stuck for hours on the Ballaghasheen Pass between Cahersiveen and Glencar after being diverted away from the main N70 on the Sunday evening in question.

At Monday's county council meeting, the first since the incident took place, Cllr Paul O'Donoghue asked the local authority exactly what measures were in place to prevent further landslides in Kells or anywhere else on the Ring of Kerry Road.

In responding, council officials were at pains to point out that the incident was incorrectly described as a landslide, labelling it instead a "localised rainfall event". Indeed, a dictionary definition refers to the movement of mass rock or earth down a slope when gravity exceeds the strength of the earth materials.

"What happened was that a very localised rainfall event occurred, where in excess of 25 mm/hour of rain fell in a very confined area of Drung Hill," a spokesperson stated.

"This intensity gave rise to large volumes of water collecting into two adjacent streams that run off this mountain and this in turn caused a large volume of stones and mud from the bed of one of these streams to be deposited onto the National Secondary Road."

It was pointed out that areas close by in Kells and Mountain stage had no rain at the time and so it is not possible to predict when and where high intensity of rainfall might occur.

"It is not possible to indicate what might happen as a result of this rainfall and Kerry County Council does not have the resources to monitor the extent of mountain in the county to identify lands," the spokesperson added.