Residents on Inishturk off Mayo threaten to blockade the harbour to resist any prospecting for gold on the island.

Encouraged by the success of the Croagh Patrick anti-mining lobby, opposition to the search for gold is gaining momentum on tiny Island of Inishturk, off the West Mayo coast. 

At the end of 1989 geologists working for the mining company Navan Resouces discovered a gold vein running through the island. The geologists left just before Christmas and Inishturk's Community Council, determined to stop all further prospecting, voted against allowing the search for gold to continue.

We don’t want it to go ahead and it’s as simple as that.

Inishturk Community Council treasurer Mary Heanue worries about the environmental and social impact gold mining could have on the island.

It’s ok, come in and mine, but what are we left with afterwards?

Inishturk Community Council public relations officer Michael O’Toole says islanders are determined to blockade the harbour to prevent the geologists returning to Inishturk.

We will at all costs, we don’t want mining and we have stressed that fact over the past few months and we still stand on that.

Geologist John Pyne says there are 700 prospecting licences around the country, including the one for Inishturk. A mining licence has not been issued for Inishturk. A licence to mine could only be granted following an environmental impact study and when planning procedures with the authorities have taken place.

All these factors would be taken into account if and when the company did find something that warranted development.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 May 1990. The reporter is Jim Fahy. The studio interview is by Seán Duignan.