John McQuaid, Goldhawk’s old pal, is still busy smashing up rocks in his illegal quarry in Clontibret, Co Monaghan with that big contract from Gama still bringing in the readies. McQuaid might be in more bother, however, following allegations from An Taisce that John and wife Mary are now operating a second unauthorised quarry less than a mile away. The ever busy Ian Lumley has fired in a letter to Paul Clifford in Monaghan County Council, alleging that he visited the new site himself and found “large scale unauthorised ... removal of shale, which is being carried out by McQuaid Quarries Ltd vehicles”. Clifford, the Council’s director of services, told Goldhawk the matter is “under investigation”. It will be recalled (see The Phoenix 11/3/05) that Monaghan County Council determined two years ago that McQuaid’s quarry was unauthorised. Not that this overly-concerned the infamous Turkish construction firm Gama, which continues to use it to supply the EU-funded N2 Clontibret-Castleblaney bypass – a €56m contract – much to the chagrin of Joe Higgins, the Socialist Party TD. Martin Cullen only turned the sod on this road in November 2005, meaning that the most recent accounts for John McQuaid (Quarries) Ltd don’t show the flow cash from Gama. Nevertheless, the company still had accumulated profits of €170,000 at the end of October 2005 – not bad for an unapproved operation. Despite numerous missives from An Taisce, the Council as yet to make any attempt at nforcing the planning laws. While McQuaid has applied for planning permission, the Council has yet to issue a decision and told Goldhawk that it has received legal advice regarding the quarry.
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