17 July 2008

Council to release documentation on Haulbowline

Cork Independent 17/7/08

CORK County Council is to release documentation relating to the former Irish Ispat site at Haulbowline Island to seriously concerned councillors, writes Mary O'Keeffe.

Cllr John Mulvihill put forward a motion at this week's meeting of Cork County Council requesting that all documentation the Council had in their possession relating to the site be released, amid rising concerns about the possible health implications of the facility for people working on the site and living in the lower harbour area,

According to Cllt Mulvihill, everyone in the harbour area is very concerned about the recent revelations about the Ispat site and of the failure to clean up the area immediately. He described how an agreement had been made as far back as 1996 to build a retaining wall around the East tip of the site to ensure that the contaminants were not washed into the sea, and how 12 years later this had still not happened.

The angered councillor strongly criticised the government's failure to cleab up the site and said that this must be expedited immediately. "We have a major, major problem in Cork harbour at the moment," he said, adding "we (Corporate Policy Group) requested a meeting with the Minister, Cobh Town Council requested a meeting with the Miniater and the Minister said he'd be down in the autumn and he might meet then. This is not good enough, I want the Green Minister Gormley to come down now."

His sentiment was echoed by councillors across all parties who held the same concerns about the site. Sinn Féin Cllr Martin Hallinan said, "The dogs on the streets of Cobh were aware that something was not right in Haulbowline for many years. By not coming down, Mr Gormley is giving us, the elected representatives, the two fingers" while Fianna Fáil's Cllr Alan Coleman said that it would (sic) common sense and political sense for the Minister to meet with a cross party delegation from Cork.

The County Manager agreed to circulate any documentation about the site to councillors after Cllr Mulvihill's motion was passed. He confirmed to councillors that hazardous waste sent from the site had bee transported by boat to two ports in germany and that material from the site had been used in road repairs in 2000, 2001 and 2002 but, said he believed that this wasn't a cause for concern.

Source: Cork Independent, 17 July 2008

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