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Pothole deep enough to fit a person standing up raises safety concerns in south Fermanagh


Eamon Fitzpatrick looking out of the pothole Credit: John McVitty

Eamon Fitzpatrick looking out of the pothole Credit: John McVitty

Eamon Fitzpatrick looking out of the pothole Credit: John McVitty

A pothole so deep a person with the height of around 6ft can stand in it completely has been causing a stir in south Fermanagh.

The crater, estimated to be around two feet in diameter, has prompted concern from residents who fear it is a safety hazard.

The hole, located in the village of Magherveely, is situated on the Ballagh Road at a point where the road bends, it has been reported.

The issue was highlighted by the Impartial Reporter which captured the depth of the hole on its front page, with an image of businessman Eamon Fitzpatrick, who uses the road to make fuel deliveries.

He told the newspaper that safety cones placed around the crater keep getting knocked all over the road, adding he was surprised no one has fallen into it yet.

"We are up and down that road regular, all the time with lorries. If you come down that road in a lorry and there is a right bit of the weight in her and you meet someone in the corner and you’re going to have to keep in, the lorry would be in the hole and that would be it,” said Eamon.

The Department of Infrastructure has described the pothole as a culvert, a tunnel carrying a stream or open drain under the road.

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It confirmed it has been aware of the culvert since May and has said contractors will be out to the site to repair it next week. 

 Earlier this year, the Belfast Telegraph revealed how the issue of Northern Ireland’s deteriorating roads is a growing problem.

In March, a total of just under 30,000 road defects had still to be fixed.

A study published in February found that the combined depth of every pothole in Northern Ireland was 1,338m — almost eight times the depth of the English Channel.

Figures obtained by this newspaper also showed more than £8m has been paid out in injury claims resulting from uneven pavements or potholes over a five-year period.

In the 2015/16 financial year, the compensation total was £1,713,708 from 262 claims. By the 2019/2020 financial year, this had jumped to £2,253,980 from 269 claims — a 24% rise.

Meanwhile, Eamon said he was not optimistic the pothole would be repaired any time soon.

"It’s going to take someone to do something about it because they are not on for doing anything about it quickly,” he explained.

A DfI spokesperson said: “During an inspection in May 2021 a defective culvert near the grass verge was identified on Ballagh Road, outside the village of Magheraveely.

“The area has been made safe with barriers and road signage while we wait on a contractor to carry out the necessary works to replace the culvert.

"Due to Contractor issues around supply of available labour, works at this location had been prioritised with others in the Fermanagh area. We can confirm that contractors working with the Department will be on site next week to carry out a permanent repair.”

They added: “To date the department has received no complaints from the public in the area. The road remains open to all road users.”

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