PLANS are being drawn up to fill in part of a toxic waste dump in Cork harbour which contained traces of the highly carcenogenic Chromium 6.
County councillors have been informed that backfilling is planned for an exposed lagoon on the eastern side of the dump at Haulbowline. Sharon Corcoran, the council’s director of services, furnished county councillors with a report yesterday on what is likely to happen to the site.
She said backfilling the exposed lagoon on the eastern tip of the site was a short-term objective, as was securing the perimeter boundary. The report was issued just days after Minister for the Environment John Gormley said he was establishing a working group, chaired by the OPW, to look at the long-term future of the site.
Cobh-based Cllr John Mulvihill (Lab) said he wasn’t impressed with Mr Gormley’s pronouncement.
"He can set up all the groups he wants, but the fact is there is still a toxic waste dump there. It’s possible the EU will move on us and make us pay fines for every day it exists. It’s still not cleaned up. If Gormley was in Opposition he’d be sitting in the middle of it on a bike," an angry Mr Mulvihill said. He pointed out cancer rates in Cobh were 44% higher than in other parts of the country.
"There are major concerns down there. We’re trying to develop the harbour as a tourist amenity. Who is going to develop anything with this in the harbour," he added.
Cllr Sean O’Connor (Ind) described Mr Gormley’s response as "not before time". He insisted safeguards would have to be put in place before any work undertaken to ensure hazardous dust didn’t escape from the site.
Cllr Noel Collins (Ind) said Mr Gormley believed there were no health risk associated with the site.
"The jury remains out on that one. Public are confused and frightened. It’s expected the cost of cleaning it up will be €300 million. Regardless of cost this has to go ahead," Mr Mulvihill said.