Friday, 12 September 2008

Report shows Haulbowline site is safe - Gormley

Minister for the Environment John Gormley has released preliminary results of a study into hazardous waste at the former Irish Steel plan in Haulbowline, Co Cork which show it does not appear to pose a threat to public health.

Mr Gormley stressed that the report by consultants White Young Green was still to be fully completed and they were still awaiting some test results but all the indications so far suggest the site does not pose a major health risk.

Mr Gormley defended his record on the controversy during an exchange at Cobh Town Council Chambers with former Labour East TD Cllr John Mulvahill Senior, who said Mr Gormley’s handling of the controversy was “a disgrace” because of his failure to meet public reps last June

White Young Green director Kevin Cleary said initial test results taken at various locations around the Haulbowline site did not show any levels of Chromium 6 following fears that the carcinogen had been uncovered on the site.

Mr Gormley said he was awaiting the completion of the full report from White Young Green later this month before presenting it to cabinet where he was keen to seek support for a clean-up and remediation of the former steel plant which closed in 2001

Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea said yesterday a report on the environmental impact of pollution on the neighbouring Naval Service base at Haulbowline had found that there is “no unacceptable risk” to health.

Mr O’Dea confirmed his department had received a report from consultants RPS on Wednesday and while his officials were still studying it in detail, the main finding was that there is no significant risk to the health of staff at the naval base.

Last July, as details emerged of a possible high level of heavy metal pollutants in slagheaps at the plant, the Naval Service closed off a football pitch used by sailors near the former Irish Steel plant.

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