27 June 2008

Govt under fire over clean-up of Irish Steel site

The Independent 27/6/08

The Government has reportedly told a sub-contracting firm not to remove huge pools of hazardous waste from the former Irish Steel site at Haulbowline Island near Cork.

The company was in the process of removing the 500,000 tonnes of waste and shipping it to Germany for disposal.

However, reports this morning say the Department of the Environment has asked the firm involved in the clean-up to cap the lagoons containing the waste until a detailed risk assessment is carried out.

An official investigation has reportedly found that the waste, which includes highly toxic materials, is likely to pose a severe risk to the health of local people.

The Government, the Environmental Protection Agency and Cork County Council are being accused of mounting a cover-up over the matter by failing to reveal the true extent of the waste on site.

An environmental consultant working for the contracting firm says capping the waste lagoons goes against every environmental principle.

However, Environment Minister John Gormley is accusing the contractor of failing to clean up the site properly and says his officials are currently compiling a report on the situation.


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