‘Ballykissangel’ has toxic legacy

The town where hit TV show Ballykissangel was filmed hosts abandoned mining sites whose levels of toxic contamination are among the worst in Ireland.

Irish authorities have published the findings of a major study into disused mines and their potential impact on health and the environment.

Avoca, better known as the picturesque location where Ballykissangel was filmed, was once a mining town and is one of three districts flagged up for detailed site investigations.

The inventory took into account both the scale of contamination and level of toxicity before ranking over 100 sites.

These ranged from long-abandoned small-scale operations to considerably larger industrial mining sites that had been recently closed.

Tynagh, a small town in Co Galway where lead and zinc were mined until the early 1980s, was found to be the most seriously contaminated site by some margin.

Silvermines, a village in North Tipperary, and Avoca, Co Wicklow, were also seen as potential problem areas where more detailed site investigations will need to be carried out.

Of the 32 mining districts assessed, 22 were given the all clear and will not require any further action.

The work was carried out by the EPA, The Geological Survey of Ireland and Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

It was carried out to help the country stay a step ahead of planned EU rules on the management of waste from extraction industries.

Dara Lynott, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “This work will leave Ireland well placed to comply with the future requirements of the EU Directive. These assessments will shape our actions for the remediation of these sites for future generations.”

The full report can be viewed online here.

Sam Bond

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