09 July 2008

Coveney seeks reassurance and clarification from Gormley on Haulbowline

Simon Coveney TD (FG) 9/7/08

Opportunity to press the Minister on series of important issues arising from site.

To-day (Wednesday) I secured a meeting with the Minister for the Environment John Gormley to discuss the many issues still outstanding on the Haulbowline waste issue. I will meet the Minister in private along with other representatives from the Cork area tomorrow afternoon.

There are a series of issues that we still need clarity on regarding Haulbowline. We need to know for certain whether any waste from the site was used in road surfacing, and if it was, then where, in what quantity, and what measures were carried out to ensure it was not toxic.

We need to know why the Minister thinks it is appropriate to engage the same consultants who in 2005 produced the only report to date stating that there is no serious risk to public health from this site. Does he not think that there is a potential conflict of interest, and that people might be sceptical of a new report, if it is not done by entirely new consultants?

We also need to know the Minister’s opinion on the ‘high risk’ status awarded to the site by previous reports done by reputable environmental consultants, and whether he can give assurances to the naval personnel living and working on the island.

The Department has, as recently as last May, received warnings as to basic material at the site and the potential risk to public health. I intend asking the Minister whether he is satisfied that the response to the warnings has been acceptable and in line with responsible management of a dangerous site.

Finally, we need clarity on when the ‘base line’ health study will be completed in the harbour area and what communities in the harbour will be included.

I am glad that this meeting is now scheduled, and I look forward to discussing these issues with the Minister.


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