SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone has highlighted concerns about the potential impact of gold-mining in the Sperrins on the health of the local people. The Mid Ulster MLA was speaking after attending a community meeting in Falagloon Hall in Maghera.
Mr McGlone said, “The ongoing gold-mining proposals in the Sperrins are causing understandable concern in local communities.
“Many of my constituents in the area are skeptical about the international companies involved and their commitment to ensuring the future environmental and economic well-being of the rural communities affected.
“There is also considerable concern about the potential impact on the health of residents from the mining proposals. The radioactive fall-out from the disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 was widespread and did affect the local environment. That fall-out remains present in the mountains and has the possibility of impacting on the health of local communities through the activities of mining companies.
“A number of residents have been organising public meetings in recent months and I have attended many of these already, including the meeting this week in Fallagloon Hall in Maghera with my colleague John Dallat MLA, our spokesperson on the Environment.
“In addition with local community organisations, I have organised meetings with Geological Survey NI, Department of Economy and, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and attended a meeting held by the Public Health Agency to discuss goldmining in the Sperrins and to put forward the concerns of my constituents to these agencies.
“In the absence of a functioning executive it is essential that the concerns of the local communities are foremost in the mind of officials when considering any action on goldmining in the Sperrins.
“I will continue to work with those communities, representing my constituents and highlighting their concerns. I emphasise this campaign will only be won through people acting together in solidarity.”