North Tipperary Deputy Noel Coonan TD has welcomed confirmation from his Fine Gael colleague and Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd that he has issued a directive which will see his Department acquire lands at the Tailing Ponds, Gortmore, Silvermines.
“Minister O’Dowd informed me some weeks ago that the Department was planning on introducing a Compulsory Purchase Order for the site. I am glad my discussions with the Minister of State, who has responsibility for the NewEra Project, has resulted in this decision being made,” said Deputy Coonan.
“This will be of benefit to the local community as the Government take charge of the implementation of the rehabilitation of the mine site and ensure the area is appropriately managed into the future. I spoke personally on many occasions to Minister O’Dowd, who was born in Thurles, and also tabled Parliamentary Questions on the topic.
“When I spoke to Minister O’Dowd I expressed my concerns about how negotiations were proceeding with the landowner of the site; and a time frame for when the State will gain responsibility for the site.
“Millions have been spent on remediating the former mining sites in the Silvermines and the Department has been working in conjunction with the County Council to set up management facility at the site.
“Minister O’Dowd and I previously visited the site to monitor progress of the remediation works. Dust blows have been eliminated, minor works and heritage works have been completed and the area has been vegetated.
Planning Permission was granted by North Tipperary County Council in September 2007, for the rehabilitation work at the Gortmore Tailings Management Facility. Rehabilitation works at the facility were carried out in phases. The first phase commenced in July 2008.