Irish Air Corps report a ‘horror story’

An Irish Examiner investigation into working conditions in the Air Corps has revealed a “horror story”, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil yesterday.

Mr Martin made the comment as he called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to publish the Department of Defence’s procedures for handling protected disclosures following further revelations in this newspaper.

Yesterday, this newspaper reported the detail of text messages between chief whip Regina Doherty and a whistleblower who had warned the Government of Air Corps staff exposures to cancer-causing chemicals while working at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co Dublin.

The whistle-blower had contacted Ms Doherty to seek her help in receiving confirmation from then- Defence Minister Simon Coveney that he had read the protected disclosure submitted in late 2015.

In January 2015 Ms Doherty passed a message on to the whistle-blower indicating that Mr Coveney would call him the next day.

Read more on the Irish Examiner Website

Government deaf to #IrishAirCorps Whistle-blowers

Minister says he is unaware of requests for direct contact, but texts suggest otherwise, writes Joe Leogue.

THE latest development in the Air Corps chemicals scandal raises serious questions about the Government’s attitudes to whistle-blowers, and highlights significant inconsistencies in its account of how it has managed the affair.

It is two weeks since the Irish Examiner revealed the details of a damning health-and-safety report on working conditions at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, and text messages seen by this newspaper add weight to opposition charges that the Government has tried to “bury” the affair by not engaging with those whistle-blowers who had previously raised health warnings about the Air Corps staff’s exposure to chemicals.

Former defence minister Simon Coveney has told the Irish Examiner he received legal advice not to meet whistle-blowers who had warned him of the Air Corps’ alleged failure to properly protect its staff from exposure to dangerous chemicals.
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However, Mr Coveney has failed to address a number of questions put to him, the most substantial being how he can claim to have been “unaware” of whistle-blowers wanting to hear directly from him when text messages from Chief Whip Regina Doherty suggest otherwise.

The “Baldonnel Shake” – Another human cost of the Irish Air Corps Toxic Chemical Health & Safety scandal

The medication helps me a lot (but has bad side affects in other ways) but it can’t get rid of all the symptoms.

Thanks to Trichloroethylene which we used unprotected and with no safety advice to clean aircraft parts, our nervous systems have been damaged to the point were they misfire.

This is one of the reasons one doctor though I had MS due to leg tremors . This is my left hand all the time but when I try to sit still I can feel it elsewhere. (Press HD)

PDFORRA waiting for reply on Irish Army Air Corps toxins exposure fears

The organisation representing members of the Defence Forces is still waiting for a reply after raising concerns about the exposure of members of the Air Corps to cancer- causing toxins.

PDFORRA wrote to both the Defence Forces and Department of Defence six months ago — prior to the publication of a damning Health and Safety Authority report on working conditions in Baldonnel — the details of which were revealed in an Irish Examiner investigation.

Ger Guinan, deputy general secretary of PDFORRA, said he became “acutely aware” of chemical exposure concerns having met with Dutch counterparts at a European Organisation of Military Associations (Euromil) conference last year.

Read more on Irish Examiner Website

Pressure mounts for Irish Army Air Corps inquiry

There is growing pressure on the Government to launch an independent inquiry into the exposure of members of the Air Corps to cancer-causing toxins at Casement Aerodrome. Six members are suing the State, claiming their health was adversely affected due to working with hazardous chemicals.

An investigation by the Irish Examiner also revealed the Health & Safety Authority threatened to prosecute the Air Corps in 2016 unless it implemented improvements in the management of employees’ exposure to hazardous chemicals. It found staff did not have access to basic equipment, such as gloves, goggles, and protective clothing.

Calling in the Dáil for separate investigations, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described the revelations and lack of response as a “serious scandal”. He also accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Government of trying to “bury” the controversy.

Read more on Irish Examiner Website

Safety body had to threaten Irish Army Air Corps before safety measures implemented

The Irish Army Air Corps had to be threatened with prosecution before it implemented safety procedures on the handling of dangerous chemicals and solvents, four years after the issue was first highlighted, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has claimed.

Read more on the Irish Times website

Irish Army Air Corps chemical safety failings have Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. under pressure at Leader’s Questions

Air Corps whistleblowers’ struggle for an investigation

Christmas week 2015, and as the country busied itself preparing for the festive season, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, defence minister Simon Coveney, and junior defence minister Paul Kehoe paid a pre-election visit to Irish troops serving peace-keeping operations in Lebanon and the Golan Heights.

Photographs released from the highly publicised trip saw the Taoiseach and his travelling party don blue helmets as they went to thank the troops and their families for their service.

However, not everyone was impressed with the visit.

Read more on the Irish Examiner website

State to fight Irish Army Air Corps toxic exposure lawsuits

The State is facing at least six separate legal actions from former members of the Air Corps who allege they have suffered serious illnesses as a result of “chronic exposure” to the chemicals they came in contact with as a part of their daily duties.

Read more on the Irish Examiner website