Sheep missing after cliff top landslide at Glenariff

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A Glenariff farmer has expressed safety concerns after a cliff-top landslide on his farm.

Heavy rain caused a landslide that dumped “thousands of tonnes” of rock and soil onto the County Antrim farm earlier this week.

Dermot McDonnell said 23 of his sheep are missing since the overnight landslide took place at his cliff-top farm at Kilmore, near Glenariff.

He said boulders “wiped out” ash trees and fears further movement could pose a risk to his house and the road below. He said he has informed the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Mr McDonnell, 56, said it was the biggest landslide he has seen in the area in his life. The debris was still being carried downhill by the heavy rain on Tuesday afternoon.

The sheep and cattle farmer grazes his livestock on about 100 acres of land near cliffs in Kilmore and regularly inspects the animals at the spot where the landslide took place. He said he believed his life would have been at risk if he had been walking in the area at the time, and fears his missing sheep may have been buried in the debris.

Mr McDonnell blamed the landslide on days of heavy rain, following a very wet December. He has called for assistance from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to reinstate the grazing land he has lost.

Flooding has been causing difficulties right across the province with Co Armagh and Co Fermanagh hardest hit.