Sinkhole-hit GAA club in County Monaghan plans new pitches

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Media captionSinkholes damage GAA pitch and clubhouse

Planning permission has been approved for new training pitches at a Gaelic football club in County Monaghan after sinkholes caused its grounds to close.

The sinkholes are thought to have been caused by the partial collapse of an old mine beneath Magheracloone Mitchells GAA club in September.

The club has been using neighbouring grounds for training.

The collapse is being investigated by Gyproc, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain Ireland.

The company mines gypsum for the manufacture of plasterboard.

Two subsequent sinkholes also appeared close to the GAA pitch, which the company said were part of the original collapse.

Image copyright Border Region TV
Image caption No one was injured when the land collapsed

The approved permission from Monaghan County Council would allow the club to build a training facility with two training pitches, flood lighting, ball stops, a single-storey prefabricated building with dressing rooms and toilets.

It would also allow for a new vehicular entrance onto a public road with a parking area, waste-water treatment system and percolation area, landscaping and associated site works at Lisnakeeny and Camaghy.

Image copyright Border Region TV
Image caption Magheracloone Mitchells' clubhouse and surrounding area have been closed

The council said it had approved the permission on Thursday and it is now subject to a four-week period for any appeals to An Bord Pleanála (planning authority).

What is a sinkhole?

Sinkholes form when rainwater comes into contact with a certain type of soft rock - such as chalk or limestone - and dissolves it.

Typically rainfall seeps through the soil, absorbing carbon dioxide and reacting with decaying vegetation. As a result, the water that reaches the soluble rock is acidic.

The acidic water causes the erosion of the soluble rock layers beneath the surface - eventually creating cavernous spaces.

The land above collapses into the cavity when it can no longer be supported.

Sinkholes can range in size enormously and there are warning signs in urban areas - such as doors and windows failing to close properly, or cracks appearing in the foundations of houses.

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