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Impact of asphalt plant on residents raised at Mayo council meeting

THE impact that the operations of an asphalt plant in Castlebar is having on local residents was raised at the monthly meeting of Mayo County Council yesterday (Monday).

Residents from Moneen were present in the council chamber where Councillor Michael Kilcoyne highlighted the 'tale of frustration' they have relayed to councillors and the local Dáil deputy.

The residents, he said, wake up every morning to smells and odours and their homes shaking from blasts.

Some letters of complaint sent in to the council had not been acknowledged four years on. Yet council policy was to reply within two weeks.

It wasn't good enough and it would not be accepted by members, he told management.

Councillors provided a budget for planning enforcement but it wasn't being used. “We are doing a terrible disservice to our people by not implementing the law.”

Councillor Blackie Gavin said the issues affected the whole of Castlebar and he called on the chief executive and director of planning to address them as a matter of urgency. He also requested a full report on the matter.

Councillor Gavin spoke about how the plant is affecting people's lives. One resident had tiles fall off their bathroom wall as a result of blasting at the quarry. Residents can't open their windows and doors due to the smell from fumes.

Councillor Cyril Burke said residents have been living with dust, odours and emissions for a long time and he asked the chief executive to see to it urgently.

Mayo County Council had an 'ostrich attitude', said Councillor Al McDonnell - head in the sand that it would go away.

He had seen disturbing photos of cars covered in dust. He assumed if residents were outside they would be ingesting dust and fumes.

“Forget about the last four years,” he stated. “We want immediate action to have this matter resolved at the earliest possible date.”

If the plant had to be suspended until a solution is found, so be it, he added. The health of the people was more important than anything else.

Councillor Ger Deere said it was unbelievable the way the people have been treated, to think the council did not correspond with them properly.

This was about the health of the people of the Castlebar area and he was 100% behind them.

He welcomed that there will be a meeting with officials in the coming weeks.

The matter is on the agenda for this Wednesday's Castlebar Municipal District meeting where Councillor Deere has tabled a notice of motion asking the planning and environmental section to publish an interim report on complaints made by the residents of Aughaluskey and Liscromwell.

A written reply to his motion sets out how 61 odour complaints have been received by the council since last September.

Since October 2021, 69 inspections, including odour patrols, have been carried out by enforcement staff. Odour was detected intermittently during patrols and the issue has been discussed with Roadstone management.

In response, the licensee appointed specialist consultants to review the site operations. An odour action plan has been submitted to the council based on their findings at the end of March. The council has requested clarification on some items and a response is due shortly.

Once corrective actions are approved by the council, the licensee will be given one month to implement the changes. Failure to do so will result in enforcement action.

The report added that the licensee has engaged positively with the council at all times and demonstrated a resolve to eliminate the odour issue.