Since the Deputy’s last Parliamentary Question on this issue, my officials have continued to liaise with the other statutory consent authorities and the company to ensure a consistent and co-ordinated effort to effectively minimise disruption, investigate the cause of the collapse at Magheracloone, safeguard health and safety within the affected area and provide all necessary assurances in regard to the future operation of the facility.
I understand that there are a number of affected households in the area of the investigation and that local businesses have also been affected by the road closures. I appreciate the inconvenience caused to these residents and businesses. It is my understanding that the company’s family liaison officer has been in regular contact with the affected families.
The priority is in returning these families to their homes as quickly as possible, subject to the results of expert assessments by mining engineers. Support in providing alternative accommodation, transport and other needs is being provided while this process in ongoing. The review and investigation underway is utilising a range of technical expertise and is now at an advanced stage.
My officials attended a further meeting with the company and officials from Monaghan County Council on 22 October where the findings of surveying, geotechnical and hydrogeological assessments carried out over the past three weeks were considered. A programme of additional work to be carried out in forthcoming days was agreed with the company. Subject to independent verification of the results of this final work later this week, it is my understanding that Monaghan County Council hopes to be in a position to make a decision as to the re-opening of the roads to the public.