The junior defence minister has refused to say when Air Corps technicians were first trained to use respirators for working with toxic chemicals.
Technicians’ exposure to harmful substances in the line of duty is “a cause of significant concern”, according to Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy, who submitted queries on the use of respirators, and protected disclosures, to minister of state Paul Kehoe.
Ms Murphy had asked Mr Kehoe the date on which it became policy and standard practice to train or up-skill new and existing members of the Defence Forces, as part of basic training, in the use of respiratory protective equipment.
Mr Kehoe said he was advised that the question appeared “to involve matters which are raised in the proceedings currently before the courts”.
“The deputy will appreciate that, as the questions appear to encroach into on-going litigation, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” Mr Kehoe said.
Ms Murphy said she was disappointed with Mr Kehoe’s response, and that a lack of transparency only causes mistrust.
“I don’t know why he isn’t more forthcoming with the information. It will be revealed in the court cases anyway,” she told the Irish Examiner.
“I am trying to get information to build a picture here, because what I can see, so far, is a cause of significant concern, to put it mildly.”
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