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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020

Toxic asbestos and large quantities of rubble discovered in popular Donegal beauty spot

The hazardous material was found dumped in the Glenveagh National Park in Donegal.

Glenveagh National Park in Donegal
Glenveagh National Park in Donegal
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

ASBESTOS HAS BEEN discovered at one of the nation’s most-visited national parks.

The hazardous material was found dumped in the Glenveagh National Park in Donegal over the weekend, leading to the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) making a complaint to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Donegal County Council.

Asbestos is a natural mineral made up of many small fibres, which can be toxic if inhaled. According to the Health and Safety Authority, breathing in air containing asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related diseases (mainly cancers of the chest and lungs). These diseases will not occur immediately and can take from 15–60 years to develop.

A spokesman for the IWT said that a number of other hazardous materials were found in the park over the weekend.

“A large quantity of builder’s rubble was found in a small woodland across the road from the main entrance to the park. In another location, what we believe to be asbestos was found along a bog track.

In addition to dumping, it was also seen that mechanical turf extraction using so-called ‘sausage machines’ continues to take place over large areas inside the national park in contravention of the national peatland strategy.

This is also in contravention of national policy and an illegal activity. The IWT said it was difficult to exaggerate how much damage was being done to the “protected habitats” and one of Donegal’s most important tourist attractions.

IWT campaigns officer Pádraic Fogarty said that it is “quite astonishing” for this activity to be happening anywhere but he said to see it inside one of the national parks is “particularly distressing”.

“The fact that this seems to be an ongoing feature suggests that serious questions need to be asked of the National Parks and Wildlife Service and park management.,” he added.

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