”Haulbowline Clean-Up and Harbour Health Study Essential” – Stanton

Filed under: Local News |

At a public meeting in Cobh on Monday, 19th July, East Cork TD, David Stanton called for the Government to immediately address the toxic dump in Haulbowline and the ongoing concerns regarding the possible impact of this waste on public health.

”The clean- up of the former Irish Ispat site on Haulbowline has been a cause for concern among Cork harbour residents for almost 10 years. When I queried the Minister for Finance regarding the clean up of the site in
2003, I was advised that the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources had already commissioned a preliminary environmental assessment report.  This was the first of a long line of reports
commissioned to examine the type of waste on the site and extent of pollution.

”Ownership of the 20 hectare site officially transferred to the Government in June 2003. In July 2008, I was advised that since taking over the site, the Department of Environment has arranged for the removal and proper disposal of a large quantity of waste which included, licensed radioactive sources and low-level radioactive waste, over 10,000 tonnes of scrap metal, over 1,000 tonnes of hazardous dust, asbestos, contaminated filter bags from the steelworks, contaminated soil and water, transformer oil, sulphur hexafluoride gas, battery acid and other waste.

”It is clear when reading this why local people are concerned about the potential damage to the environment and public health  High levels of toxic metals such as mercury and Chromium VI have also been found. Chromium VI is known to be cancer causing.  We have seen the figures from the National Cancer Registry that show very high cancer rates in Cobh in comparison to other parts of the country. Is there a link to waste at Haulbowline?? asked Deputy Stanton

”In 2008, the Minister for Health, Mary Harney TD indicated that in light of waste found at Haulbowline, discussions were underway with a view to conducting a baseline health study of the Corh Harbour Area.  She also indicated that the Minister for Environment, John Gormley TD had stated that such a study should be considered.  However, now I am being told by Minister Harney that this will not go ahead as there is ‘no identified risk to the residential inhabitants of Cork Harbour Associated with the presence of waste materials at the East Tip on Haulbowline Island’.

”The Government’s handling of the Haulbowline clean-up has been negligent in the extreme. In 2007 an inter-departmental group chaired by the Department of Enterprise, including the OPW was set up to examine the future use and remediation works of the site. Now an OPW group has been set up to examine the future use of the site.  This group will not however, examine the necessary remediation and clean up of the site. In 2003 clean-up costs of the site were estimated at €30 million. In November 2008 this cost had already reached €42.5 million.  What is it now?

”This situation would be farcical if not for the potential danger to the environment and to public health. I am calling on the government to immediately act to allay public fears by initiating a full clean up the site and carryout a baseline public health study in the Cork Harbour area.”

One Response to ”Haulbowline Clean-Up and Harbour Health Study Essential” – Stanton

  1. Must be an election on the way, its about the only time we hear from this so called politician or any politician for that matter. Then again we only have ourselves to blame when we cant join together and elect a politician fromn our own town….!!!

    July 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm