The new Community Centre planned for Magheracloone.

€8M for Magheracloone facilities

GYPROC GAA plans tied to new mining application

Some €8 million is to be spent on a new community centre and GAA ground in Magheracloone.

Gyproc, Magheracloone Mitchells GAA and the local Community Centre group are holding events this week to showcase the plans for the new facilities.

The company committed to replacing them after the facilities were condemned following major subsidence in 2018. A crownhole formed after underground support columns collapsed in a disused mine in the area.

Investigations found Gyproc’s use of the mine to store water run-off had led to the erosion of the support pillars.

A subsequent investigation determined roads in the area, including the Kingscourt to Carrickmacross route, safe to use and regular monitoring is taking place. Marketing Director with Gyproc Kieran Holohan says the plans are for “state of the art facilities”, including a new sports and recreational facility.

New pitches, including astroturf pitches and a gym are included.

“We’re hoping for open dialogue with our neighbours, taking on board their feedback,” said Kieran of this week’s consultation.

New mining application

Also included in the plans is a new mining application from Gyproc.

Kieran told the Celt the new community centre will be submitted as a standalone planning application; while the proposed new GAA facility and new mining plans will be submitted together.

“They’re both in the same area so they’re being submitted together,” he said.

However, the tying together of the plans to replace the lost facilities with a new quarrying application has met with strong criticism from some locally.

The Drumgossett/Knocknacran Residents’ Association has been vocal in its opposition to the plans.

The group is accusing Gyproc of trying to pit people in the community against one another and holding people to ransom by including the plans for further quarrying with those for the GAA facility. Gyproc deny this. Responding to the criticism, Kieran Holohan said the company is committed to replacing the facilities lost, something Gyproc confirmed shortly after the subsidence.

“Regardless of anything that happens with the planning permission [for the mine], these facilities will be replaced,” he said.

He also said the company is engaging with the community on their concerns, with this week's event part of that process.

This week's event is being held in conjunction with the Magheracloone Mitchells GAA club, which has been involved in drawing up the plans.

Chair of the club Francie Jones said the group is “delighted with what’s on offer”.

“We are delighted and excited with the plans. We have seeded our temporary pitch and hope to be on it in the next year but this is on another level,” he said.

On divisions in the community, Francie said: “Gyproc has committed to replacing what was lost. This has extra on top of what we had so that’s great but at the very least what we lost will be replaced.”

The planning application has yet to be finalised and lodged but Gyproc is hopeful the community centre will be built within 18 months if planning is granted. The GAA facilities could take up to two years to complete.

Around 100 construction jobs are expected to be created in the process.