By Joe Leogue
Nearly 100 children were evacuated from their classrooms yesterday when a sinkhole opened up on the grounds of their primary school.
The incident happened at Drumgossatt National School, near Carrickmacross in Monaghan.
The subsidence also hit the nearby Mageracloone GAA club yesterday morning.
The collapse of a disused gypsum mine in the region has been cited as the cause of the subsidence.
While the school was closed immediately, and an appeal was made for parents to collect their children, there were no injuries.
Gyproc, the operators of the mine, said it is “assessing the situation with the assistance of geological teams to ascertain both the reason for and the extent of the subsidence”.
“We are liaising with local residents and authorities in the area to advise them of the incident and keep them updated,” the company said in a statement.
The Health and Safety Authority said it will follow up on the incident with the owner of the mine.
“We are aware that an old section of the gypsum mine in the area (no longer in use) has collapsed,” said the HSA.
Monaghan County Council closed roads following the subsidence.
“A land subsidence occurred close to Mageracloone GAA club and the Carrickmacross to Kingscourt Regional Road, R179, this morning. There were no casualties,” the local authority said in a statement.
“The local national school has been closed as a precautionary measure.
“The R179 Regional road Carrickmacross to Kingscourt has been closed as a precautionary measure, until further notice.”
The council said diversions had to be put in place and traffic was being diverted via Kingscourt/Shercock/Carrickmacross.
Gardaí confirmed that they attended the scene, and that the mixed school, which has 93 boys and girls, was evacuated as a precaution.
The local GAA club said its facilities are closed until further notice.
“Magheracloone GFC pitches, Community Centre, car park etc have been closed for the foreseeable future due to a serious incident overnight,” the club said on Facebook.
“Nobody is to enter the grounds under any circumstances.”