No timeframe yet for cleanup

KERRY County Council has confirmed that an extensive assessment of the lands affected by the weekend’s landslide in the Stacks Mountains is being carried out, adding that officials hope a major cleanup operation will begin as soon as possible.

The landslide, which travelled over four kilometres from Ballincollig Hill on Friday and Saturday swept away an estimated 25 acres of bog, engulfed two bridges and killing thousands of fish in the Glasoreag River.

It has been described by locals as the worse incident ever witnessed in the area. On Saturday, emergency works were carried out by the council to halt the landslide and engineers and consultants are now assessing the site to establish the best way of cleaning away the hundreds of tonnes of peat blocking roads, rivers, land and bridges.

Kerry County Council communications officer Padraig Corkery said that media reports of the council stalling cleanup works were inaccurate, adding that emergency works were finalised on Saturday and now a full scale cleanup plan is being put together. “We carried out emergency works to stop the flow and stabilise the landslide on Saturday and now we are assessing the whole area, beginning with where the slide happened.” he said.

“We didn’t stop works, we simply have to establish what happened before any programme of works can be put in place.” Mr Corkery confirmed that external consultants are working with council engineers to monitor the site and it is hoped that cleanup work will begin as soon as possible. He was unable to confirm, however, the full scale of the operation or the likely cost.

It is understood that some of the work to be carried out will include the removal of tonnes of bog deposits from both bridges that were engulfed, as well as the replacement of roadways that were dug away to divert the landslide from Scanlon’s Bridge. Meanwhile, the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board said that the recovery time following the landslide could be between five to ten years.

Eamonn Cusack from the board said fish stocks in the Glasoreag River have been completely wiped out and there are now serious concerns for fish stocks for the River Smearlagh.