Aerial shot of Ballysax Quarry which now covers around 20 hectares
Locals living near Ballysax Quarry are calling on Kildare County Council to take further action because the quarry remained operational in a breach of a Circuit Court order.
The order, which was granted on September 4, 2018, requires the quarry to cease "the unauthorised development and use of the lands as a sand and gravel quarry".
This order was postponed until February 1, but local residents reported the quarry was still in use last week.
Local election Sinn Féin candidates Patricia Ryan and Noel Connolly visited the site on Monday, February 4. They counted, in one half-hour period, five trucks leaving the quarry loaded with stone.
“This morning we reported this unauthorised development to Kildare County Council,” said Mr Connolly.
“I can’t understand why Kildare County Council aren’t out here. It took them long enough to bring the developer to court. If it wasn’t for the action of local people they would not have bothered.
“If it was you or I building a wall or making an entrance bigger, they wouldn’t be long getting in touch to tell us to stop.”
He added: “The local people here are understandably very angry. This won’t be allowed to continue. If action isn’t taken by the council, local people will take action. The roads are in bits, the extra heavy traffic is dangerous, not to mention the considerable noise generated by the machinery.”
Cllr Mark Lynch has also made representations to the council about the situation.
Deputy Catherine Murphy also raised the matter in the Dáil last June.
Speaking at the time, she said: “A small local community of 11 families lives near to it (the quarry). Four of the family members in those 11 houses now have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and others are using inhalers. There is a significant problem with dust and on their doctors' advice the families stay inside when the wind blows predominantly towards their homes.
“Some 150 trucks per day — 40 ft articulated trucks — travel to and from the quarry on small rural roads. They start at 5.30 am and there is a serious problem with sleep disturbance for the families. The road conditions are also dangerous.
“Because there is no planning permission for the development, there is no bond and no possibility of money for the remediation.”
As quarrying continues, locals have expressed grave fears for the disappearance of local wetlands, and the impact on wildlife such as bats, owls, birds an frogs.
“This has gone on too long. We need the council to take action and get this quarry closed down,” said one local resident.
When asked for a response, Kildare County Council said: “ as this case is the subject of current and ongoing legal action, the council is not in a position to comment on the matter”.