‘Extensive damage’ caused by mudslides in Leitrim

Thousands of tonnes of bog slipped down Shass mountain near Drumkeeran village

Independent TD Marie Harkin asked the Dáil for greater support to be made available to Leitrim County Council.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Independent TD Marie Harkin asked the Dáil for greater support to be made available to Leitrim County Council. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

People in Leitrim have suffered “extensive damage to their land and property” following mudslides over the weekend with some forced to leave their homes, the Dáil heard on Tuesday.

Independent TD Marie Harkin requested on Tuesday that greater support be made available to Leitrim County Council after thousands of tonnes of bog slipped down from Shass mountain near the village of Drumkeeran. Ms Harkin underlined the lack of resources available to people affected by the weekend’s landslides and called on Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to provide greater support to the community.

On Sunday night between five and six families living near Drumkeeran left their homes fearing the buildings could be demolished by the thousands of acres of bogs that had “slipped down” the nearby mountain, chairman of Drumkeeran IFA Tommy Drugan told RTÉ radio’s News at One.

Mr Drugan said it was believed the prolonged dry spell during spring had created cracks in the bog which filled with water during the recent torrential rain and resulted in tonnes of peat sliding down Shass mountain.

Dawn of Hope bridge

He said the main concern was that if more rain arrives, more peat would slide down the mountain. The Dawn of Hope bridge, which dates back to the 1800s and is in the path of the bog slide, has so far withstood the pressure of the mudslide.

However, if the bridge collapses the results could be “catastrophic”, added Mr Drugan.

“It is hard to imagine the severity of it till you see it,” he said, adding that there had been no landslides in the area in living memory.

There are still many cracks on the bogs and forestry that has moved, he said, while farmers are concerned about livestock roaming in the area.

A spokesman for the Irish Farmer’s Association said it planned to contact the Department of Agriculture to ensure any damage was considered “force majeure” and that no farmer had land deemed ineligible which could impact payments. It also said a “hardship fund” would be needed to assist those affected.

“The farms in question are small holdings,” said the spokesman. “It’s the time of year when farmers would be saving fodder for the winter. For farmers who cannot harvest their fodder, a hardship fund will be needed to assist them.”