Ballyegan Quarry: Concerned Residents to Meet in Ballymacelligott

Old plant – New Growth ? The former Buckley’s /John A. Wood / Roadstone Quarry at Ballyegan, Castleisland which is now at the centre of local controversy. ©Photograph: John Reidy

A meeting of concerned families in the broad area of the old John A Wood / Roadstone quarry in Ballyegan will take place on Thursday night October 17th. at 8pm in St. Brendan’s Hall in Ballymacelligott.

The hall is on the old Castleisland to Tralee Road close to the handball alley.

The meeting has been called to discuss the re-opening of the quarry and the implications for those living nearby and for the parish in general.

Local elected members of Kerry County Council have been invited to attend.

Council Granted Permission

Kerry County Council has already granted planning permission to Roadstone to re-establish a quarrying business at Ballyegan as the company took over where John A Wood bought into what was known locally as Buckley’s Quarry in the 1960s.

The quarry has been abandoned for the best part of the past decade.

Locals, who have had the experience of living at close quarters with a quarrying operation for close to half a century know what they’re up against if this development goes ahead.

They certainly feel they know what they’re talking about when they put their objections to the planning authorities.

Drop in Property Value

There is also the fear that new houses built in the area will suffer most if there is a return to the blasting of the still extensive limestone deposits – with an inevitable drop in the value of property being a major consideration.

Locals believe that blasting is being planned for the Castleisland side of the site at Ballyegan.

People in the locality will recall the heydays of the quarry and hearing windows and doors rattling from the power of the blasts and this could be felt as far away as Castleisland itself.

Concerns Over Radon Gas

There are also concerns surrounding the prevalence of the deadly radon gas in the Castleisland area in general and its associations with lung cancer in particular.

A study carried out along the west of Ireland in 2017 found high concentrations of radon gas where fractured limestone was exploited by the gas.

People in the locality of the new proposals here are feeling more than justified in standing up for themselves and their neighbours and for generations to come.

Plans Refused in 2004

As far back as 2004 the John A Wood company looked for planning permission to open new quarries in the Caheragh area of Castleisland.

There was fierce opposition throughout the area to the plans and a public meeting was held in the River Island Hotel – at which an expert on radon gas spoke.

The meeting heard of  the dangers of limestone blasting and of the deadly gas seeping through the fissures caused by the process. Permission was not granted on that occasion.

Obvious Nuisances Considered

While the obvious nuisances of these operations like noise and dust were discussed at that meeting, the overriding concern was that of the threat from radon gas.

There is an urgency about Thursday night’s meeting in Ballymacelligott as the residents are under pressure to get their case for An Bord Pleanála in order as the final decision is due to be delivered early in the spring of next year.

And many of them know only too well that they’re fighting for the continuation of the peace and tranquility of the environment in which they have lived or settled in since the quarry closed nearly a decade ago.