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RTÉ Investigates reveals 30 unauthorised quarries in Donegal 27.11.19

RTÉ Investigates has found over 150 quarries across the country are unauthorised out of 1,100 active quarries in Ireland.
RTÉ Investigates also reveals how some of the biggest customers of these unauthorised sites are the very enforcement agencies whose role it is to police Ireland's quarries. Over the past six months RTÉ Investigates has looked at quarries across the country including Donegal.
Ireland viewed from the air, the country boasts many world renowned areas of natural beauty, however another recurring feature of the landscape that is not so attractive is the increasing impact of quarries.
Watch RTÉ Investigates - Between a Rock and a Hard Place - tonight, Wednesday November 27, at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.
Tonight's RTÉ Investigates - Between a Rock and a Hard Place programme looks at how some operators are able to challenge the system of regulation for quarries, blasting without planning permission, and digging into the landscape of rural Ireland, sparking angry protests.
Permission for quarries is given or refused on a number of grounds including how much environmental damage they're likely to cause. But RTÉ Investigates has found that the system is full of loopholes, delays and grey areas. Resulting in Ireland's environment - the air we breathe, the wildlife around us, our water, trees and grass - being put at risk.
The programme shows how even when a quarry is deemed to be unauthorised and has been served with enforcement notices it doesn’t mean they can’t continue operating. The findings of a nationwide survey of local authorities carried out by RTÉ Investigates shows that 151 quarries are deemed to be unauthorised developments.

The counties with the most unauthorised quarries were:
Donegal with 30
Kerry with 26
Cork with 19
Waterford with 17
Galway with 12
Beside the town of Lifford, straddling the Donegal / Derry border is an island on the River Foyle estuary – Islandmore. It is surrounded by a river and wildlife habitat protected by law as a special area of conservation in both jurisdictions.
The owner of Islandmore was refused planning permission 19 years ago for a quarry but he continued quarrying. He was later served with an injunction, restraining him from quarrying there. In 2014, he lost an appeal to An Bord Pleanála. Even though there’s still no authorisation for quarrying, RTÉ Investigates has filmed a dredging crew excavating at various points along the river. A machine with a large boom dredges the river bed in 2019.
RTÉ reporter Barry O'Kelly speaks to the owner at the site on tonight's programme. He has sought both a judicial review of the court injunction taken out against him by Donegal County Council and a decision by An Bord Pleanala to refuse him planning permission and while those cases have yet to be heard, quarrying here continues.
A Donegal Council report noted there is a "potential risk of contamination of groundwater" arising from this dredging. While Dr Pat Moran, an ecologist said: "They are operating in a Natura 2000 site which is protected by domestic and European legislation. So that is going to be impacting on a lot of the flora and fauna. Its got no planning permission, there Is no monitoring, there is no mitigation measures."
Watch RTÉ Investigates - Between a Rock and a Hard Place - tonight, Wednesday November 27, at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.
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