31 August 1999

Second blast in a month at Cork steel plant

RTÉ News 31/8/99

Investigations are to be carried out into an explosion at the Irish Ispat steel plant at Haulbowline in Cork. They will involve the Health and Safety Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency. The blast, which was the second in a month, shook buildings in nearby Cobh. The blast occurred at around one o'clock. Eyewitnesses say that they heard an explosion and saw a plume of black smoke rising from the main plant on the northern end of Haulbowline Island.

No spokesperson was available when Irish Ispat was contacted. However, it is believed, from sources within the plant, that the blast occurred when hot slag was dumped into a damp pit. The blast is the second this month at the Irish Ispat plant, which is Ireland's only steel plant. The first halved production and caused half a million pounds worth of damage when one of two electricity transformers exploded on August 7th.

That explosion forced the company to put its 330 workers on protective notice, but that was withdrawn after an alternative power source was secured. There have also been protests that the company has failed to inform the community in the area surrounding the plant when accidents occur there.