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Quarry site in Kildare continues to be used despite High Court order

“Roads are being torn up, and the council is getting no rates from it,” councillor Mark Lynch said.

LOCALS AND POLITICIANS have been writing to Kildare County Council to voice their concerns about a quarry that is being used despite a High Court order to stop all work. 

In a Dáil debate, Kildare TD Catherine Murphy said that “not only is the quarry operating to full capacity and breaking every planning law, it has been extended to a massive 20 hectares.”

Murphy said that although the quarry, located in Ballysax, Curragh, has been operating since 1983 without permission, it began to draw complaints from residents in 2014 due to a “scale up in the quarrying operation”.

“…An enforcement notice was eventually issued in 2015 stating that they should close the quarry immediately with all equipment to be removed by mid June. That enforcement notice was ignored,” she told the Dáil.

A High Court appearance followed in late 2015 and a temporary closure was to follow, but that agreement was largely ignored.

In 2016 Kildare County Council took the quarry owner to the Circuit Court, the Dáil heard; in November 2017 the judge gave his decision stating the quarry was an illegal development without planning permission since 1983.

Murphy said that the judge ordered the quarry to be closed and the Kildare County Council legal team agreed a stay of five months, until February 2018. The quarry owner was granted additional time to lodge an appeal for a stay on the judge’s decision.

After a number of other legal processes, the council agreed to a 2019 closure. But Sinn Féin activists who visited the site this week saw that trucks were still entering and leaving the site, taking pictures and videos of the movement.

Murphy said that ”a small local community of 11 families live near” the quarry, and of those families, “four of the family members 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.

Local councillor Mark Lynch has repeatedly raised the issue with Kildare County Council management.

“There’s no national legislation on quarries – it’s governed at council level,” Lynch told “In this case, they’ve been operating for 20 years without planning permission, and there’s been no issue with this until quite recently.”

Locals began raising objections to the noise from rocks breaking, particularly on Saturday and Sunday morning, and damage being done to the roads. During weekday mornings, work could begin from as early as 5.30am and between 30 – 40 trucks could pass through the area, Lynch estimates.

Sinn Féin’s candidate for Newbridge in the local elections this year, Noel Connolly, has also contacted the council with his concerns about the site.

“As a frequent walker and cyclist in the area I am affected by the increased heavy goods traffic and the damage they are doing to the roads in the area,” he wrote. Connolly was also among the Sinn Féin members that visited the site. 

“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.”

Lynch says that the council has the power to seize equipment as the court order has been breached. 

These materials are going into the biggest construction projects. Roads are being torn up, and the council is getting no rates from it.

He said that there were quarries “up and down the country with no planning permission making a huge amount of money”.

In a statement to, Kildare County Council said: “I wish to advise you that as this case is the subject of current and ongoing legal action, the council is not in a position to comment on the matter.”

Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Damien English told Catherine Murphy that he had “committed to considering whether these powers need to be strengthened in forthcoming planning legislation”.

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