Last October I attended my first meeting of the Lackenbehy Action Group - a community group in Leamlara organising opposition to a proposed quarry development which had received approval from Cork Co. Council. This opposition has involved an immense commitment of time and energy by those leading the group. They had to conduct a great deal of research into the proposed quarry and risks it poses to human health, water supplies and wildlife. Their work included liaising with communities abroad who have resisted similar developments. The group has had to source expensive legal and environmental advice, distribute hundreds of leaflets, and organise several public meetings and fundraisers. These group leaders are people with families and busy working lives. Their dedication to this cause is inspirational.
The Lackenbehy Action Group is one of several examples in Co. Cork of a community forced to take on, at great expense, the might of a large corporation. Others include the campaigns against the plastic factory in Skibbereen and the waste incinerator in Ringaskiddy.
The Lackenbehy Action Group and local residents have good reason to oppose this quarry. Blasting of sandstone would create silica dust which is a known carcinogen, as well as being implicated in a range of respiratory conditions. Private and public water supplies in Lisgoold, Carrigtwohill and Midleton and Watergrasshill are at risk of contamination. There would also be an immense strain on the local infrastructure due to the large volume of heavy trucks driving to and from the site. Wildlife, including rare species of squirrels, bats and hawks, would suffer under the development.
I have been hugely impressed by the Lackenbehy Action Group and their capacity to unite their community. Last night I attended their latest public meeting where they provided updates on their appeal from late 2018. An Bord Pleanala is extending the decision on this until July 2nd 2019. Any individual or group who has not already submitted an objection to the quarry development can now do so at a charge of €50. Objections should be sent to 64 Marlborough St., Rotunda, Dublin, Eircode: D01 V902 by April 18th. It is vital that residents in Carrigtwohill, Midleton and Watergrasshill, whose water supplies and infrastructure will be at risk from the development, add their voices to the campaign. The Lackenbehy Action Group have also been granted an oral hearing on their appeal prior to the final decision by An Bord Pleanala.
Liam Quaide is a Clinical Psychologist and a Midleton LEA Co. Council candidate for the Green Party