The Dáil is to consider establishing a special Oireachtas inquiry into claims that Defence Forces personnel suffered serious health consequences over decades as a result of toxic chemical exposure – allegations first revealed by the Irish Examiner.
They believe these exposures could have caused the deaths and serious illnesses of former staff.
These whistle-blowers also submitted a complaint to the Health and Safety Authority, who inspected conditions at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel and threatened legal action against the Defence Forces unless it made improvements in how Air Corps staff are protected from the effects of the toxic chemicals.
Meanwhile, the State is defending seven personal injury claims from former Air Corps members who have been told by a toxico-pathologist that their chronic illnesses were caused by their exposure to chemicals used in the line of duty.
The Government first received protected disclosures from whistleblowers in December 2015, and an independent report on the claims found appropriate records to demonstrate the Air Corps compliance with health and safety standards “are not readily available.”
However, despite receiving that report in the summer of 2017, no subsequent action has been taken by the Government, nearly two years later.
There have been 22 untimely deaths of Irish Air Corps serving & former personnel since the first health and safety related protected disclosure was made to Simon Coveney in December 2015.
This Fine Gael government appear quite happy to sit back and let our colleagues die. At least 3 of the 22 deaths were suicides and therefore preventable.