Local dams under scrutiny after drowning tragedy

THE recent tragedy in which two young men drowned at a dam in Co. Down has prompted a call from a Ballymoney Councillor for clarification on what dangers, if any, exist in the Ballymoney area.

Councillor Phillip McGuigan was speaking at last week’s monthly meeting of Ballymoney Borough Council.

He said: “I know the Environment minister wrote to all councils expressing his concerns about quarry dams.

“Is there anything that our council needs to be doing with regards to that issue that we haven’t already been doing?”

In response, Mr. John Michael, Director of Health and Environmental Services, said he had just received information on the matter and it came as news to him that the council had responsibility in this area.

“Up until a quarry becomes disused it is looked after by other Government agencies. The legislation being relied on is somewhat dated, 1878, and I haven’t had much time as yet to look at it,” Mr. Michael said.

He revealed that eight sites may come within the definition, but did not think there were any of the type that led to the problem.

Mr. Michael said he would look at the matter and bring any further information to the council at a later date.