GAA club hit by sinkhole gets approval for new facilities

Magheracloone Mitchells pitch in Monaghan was split down the middle by subsidence

Aerial view of the sinkhole in Co Monaghan that appeared in September. Photograph: Pat Byrne

Aerial view of the sinkhole in Co Monaghan that appeared in September. Photograph: Pat Byrne

 

Planning permission for the development of two new training pitches, dressingrooms, car parking, and other facilities at the Magheracloone Mitchells GAA club has been approved by the local county council.

The Co Monaghan club, located near the Camaghy and Lisnakeeny townlands, saw a number of its facilities damaged in September after a sinkhole affecting a radius of 120m appeared.

The club’s GAA pitch was split down the middle by the sinkhole.

The Magheracloone Mitchells clubhouse and a community centre were also damaged by the subsidence, which led to the indefinite closure of the centre due to safety concerns.

A report into the September incident found that operations involving the transport and storage of water in an old part of a mine had led to the collapse of several mining pillars, which probably led to the sinkhole.

Gyproc, an Irish plaster and plasterboard manufacturer that has mining operations in the area, met with officials from Monaghan County Council following the incident and said it was in contact with families whose homes had been affected by the collapse.

In December, a second, 9m sinkhole appeared on Gyproc land in Co Monaghan, leading to road closures in the area.

Residents who were evacuated from their houses following the September sinkhole have since struggled to get insurance on their homes, local Sinn Féin councillor Colm Carthy told RTÉ News at One on Thursday.

Five homes were evacuated in September, and while some of the families have since returned, others are worried about the risk of future land subsidence, Mr Carthy said.

He said some people living in the area had been unable to secure house insurance or renew previous policies with insurance companies because of the sinkhole.

Ready for use

Mr Carthy said he expected the new GAA pitches at Magheracloone would be ready for use within the next few months.

“Those training pitches will allow them [the club] to temporarily have somewhere to practise, to train, to strength and condition over the next few years while they put plans in place to develop new premises for their club,” he said.

Mr Carthy said the new pitches would not be suitable for club matches and that players would have to continue to rely on the grounds of other clubs for the time being.

He also raised concern over the evacuated residents who have yet to return to their homes.

“There’s still a lot of questions to be answered in the area, still a lot of upset amongst residents. Today is one small bit of good news for Magheracloone GAA, but still an awful lot more needs to be done and has to be done over the next few months.”

A GoFundMe page, which was launched by the club in September, has raised €10,900 to date to set up temporary GAA facilities in the area.

“We all know that any football club is the backbone of the community and the foundation for many friendships,” the page stated. “Funds will be required to source and set up temporary facilities. Please give a little or a lot. It takes a community to raise children.”