Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (388)

Michael Lowry

Question:

388. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on whether the current use of the former tailing pond site in Silvermines, County Tipperary, is safe and poses no health risk to residents or animals; if he will detail his long-term plans for the site; if he will provide a guarantee that this site will be safely maintained into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13090/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

For the information of the Deputy, I am advised that the remediated area of the tailings management facility at Gortmore, Silvermines, Nenagh, County Tipperary, comprises a substantial cover including geogrid membrane, a rock layer and soil overlaid by vegetation. I understand that there would not appear to be a risk of immediate or irreversible damage to the property. In the circumstances, public or animal health would not be an issue.

In regard to the immediate issue of livestock on the site in question which was brought to my attention, I can advise the Deputy that a recent inspection by an expert, commissioned by the Department, indicated that there were ten horses and a donkey contained on part of the remediated site. These were observed as not causing any damage to the ground that, along with the vegetation, is described as being in good condition.

There are ongoing negotiations with the landowner on the future of the site. It is my intention to reach an accommodation on this and once the statutory process is observed, I would expect that the tailings management facility will be appropriately managed and monitored on behalf of the State in the future.