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Dangerous sinkhole appears on West Cork road

Monday, 21st October, 2019 12:04pm

A dangerous sinkhole has developed on a public road in West Cork. 

The sinkhole developed over the weekend before the collapse was discovered yesterday near Allihies on the road to the Beara Peninsula, just yards from a residential property.

The area in and around Allihies once had a prominent copper mining industry, which is believed to have contributed to the incident.

Speaking on C103, community representative Finbarr Harrington said: “There was a lot of copper in Allihies in years gone by. I suppose this is what’s after happening. It‘s an old mine shaft that was under the road, and that’s why this collapsed and caused this big sinkhole.

“It’s a busy enough little road. It would be a good number of people using it. But I suppose the big thing here is that it’s extremely dangerous. Nobody really knows how deep it is. It became more noticeable in the last week, when we had the torrential rain, it really opened up and collapsed. A number of them have collapsed in the past, but nothing like this, so close to the road.”

The copper mines in the area date back to the 19th century, operating until the 1960s. A museum located on the edge of Allihies offers dedicated tours of the copper mines and ruins in the area.

When asked if there is a way of preventing this, Mr Harrington said: “There isn’t really. Like any mining operation, when it was in full swing they did a lot of speculating around the area to see if there was other copper. There’s lots of old mines. Nobody really knows the extent of them and where they’re going to show up.”

The sinkhole represents a substantial safety risk, however no accidents occurred as a result of the collapse, and the road remains closed. It is thought that a sinkhole first occured on Friday but became much larger over the following days.

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