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.

Texts suggest Simon Coveney knew of #IrishAirCorps Whistle-blowers

Government chief whip Regina Doherty passed an air corps whistle-blower’s requests for contact with Housing Minister Simon Coveney onto her Cabinet colleague last year, contrary to Mr Coveney’s claims he was unaware of any such appeal.

Significant inconsistencies have emerged in the Government’s account of how it managed the warnings it received relating to concerns for Air Corps technicians’ health.

The Irish Examiner has learned that, in January 2016, Ms Doherty forwarded a text message onto one of the whistle-blowers that she said came from then-Defence Minister Coveney. The message claimed Mr Coveney would call this whistle-blower the next day.

Read more on the Irish Examiner Website

Added new information to the ACCAS “Chemical Info” page

Added some more chemicals to the chemical list including the following sealants & primers.  These were used a lot by sheet metal workers and are very toxic. Have also added some constituent chemicals from the SDS list , some are unpronounceable.

Added manufacturer SDS

Added constituent chemicals

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

Alternative Facts – Minister Kehoe’s “Independent 3rd Party”

On the 25th of January 2017 Minister Paul Kehoe TD the Junior Minister with responsibility for Defence made a statement in Dáil Éireann that he had appointed an “independent 3rd party” to investigate the Air Corps whistle-blower claims.

This “independent 3rd party” a Mr. Christopher O’Toole hails from the same Attorney Generals office that some of the whistle-blowers are taking legal action against.

My Toxic Life – Another human cost of the Irish Air Corps Toxic Chemical Health & Safety scandal

Sitting here waiting to cool down enough to have a shower after another gym session. Worried that posting my fitness goals on social media will give ammunition to the Dept of Defence against my fight for an apology, yes an apology, compensation would be nice but will not cure me only help me and my family should the worse happen and pay for all the medications and tests I’m already taking. An apology for endless years of being told ‘suck it up and put on your uniform and go back to work’…being bullied for being sick.

I served twenty two years. You think if I didn’t love my job and wanted money I’d have stuck all that harassment for 22 years. You think I’d have paid thousands of euros for medical tests out of my own pocket if I wasn’t worried about my health?

The Dept weren’t there when I got up every morning suffering from diarrhoea. Hoping it make it to work without soiling myself. I can’t go anywhere without anti-diarrhoea tablets.

They weren’t there when I was vomiting on my knees in the toilet from pure anxiety. When I was crying like a baby not knowing why or what was happening in my body. When I couldn’t get out of bed for fear of well fear of nothing because the wiring in my brain was malfunctioning.

They weren’t there when I blew a fuse with my wife because of uncontrollable mood swings. They weren’t there when I had to get cameras up me to see why I was always suffering stomach pains. They weren’t with me when I embarrassingly had to tell my story over and over again to counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors , nurses , who all bar one brushed it off and said I don’t think this is psychological. “I laughed and said google says I’ve MS!” His face went serious and said that was his next opinion. I paid to get a brain MRI the next day and waited an agonising 48 hrs for the results which were negative . Fancy that , it’s being caused by something else.

I was finally diagnosed with toxic Neuropathy three years ago and associated conditions. I was also told I was at high risk of cancer of some form (like many of my mates already).

So Dept of Defence , all those days I went to work and done my best, performed flawlessly according to my personal record, I was pushing myself to the limit. When I was sick I had passed that limit (sorry I forgot, I was malingering hence my extra duties) but all those days I held it together in my ticking time bomb of a body because I loved my job. Was I lying ? No. Are you lying ? Yes!!!!

You can’t give me my life back I’m damaged till this body gives up but at least say sorry and say it loud so that the many who don’t realise why they are suffering also can hear you.

Better have that shower now and continue on my seemingly heavenly social media life.

22 Years Air Corps Service

Constructively dismissed by Irish Army Air Corps management as a malingerer.