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

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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.”

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Cobh Community Centre give generous donation to St. Vincent De Paul

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The cheque of €500 was presented to St. Vincent de Paul on Tuesday evening at the Community Centre. It was part of the proceeds from the Centre’s ‘Christmas Variety Concert’. John Coleman, Chairman of the Cobh Community Centre, thanked all the groups that performed at the concert last December, including nearby colleges St. Mary’s National School, Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh and Scoil Iosaef. Members of the Fundraising Committee – Manager, Gwen O’Halloran, Majella Smith, Martin O’Leary and Catherine Jefferson – also expressed their appreciation for the spirited and uplifting performances that were given last December by the Children’s Theatre, the Cope Foundation Day Unit, Pop & Rock and the Carrigtwohill Gospel Choir. Thanking the Cobh Community Centre, Liz O’Driscoll and Aine O’Regan from St. Vincent de Paul said, “Our charity receives much focus around Christmas time, which is a great thing, but our work is ongoing, year-round. Therefore, donations at this time of year are especially important to us.”

The Chairman used the presentation of the cheque to St. Vincent de Paul to announce ambitious plans to increase the usage of the Centre’s many and varied facilities. John noted, “Cobh Community Centre has great potential for hosting a variety of both community and commercial activities as well as training sessions. We offer convenience plus first-class facilities. That’s a package that’s hard to top! We are also constantly expanding and upgrading our classes and events. So, there is something here for everyone in the Cobh community…the Centre literally does what it says on the tin!”

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