Attempts to dismiss serving Air Corps whistleblower on medical grounds ‘not a disciplinary procedure’

JUNIOR MINISTER FOR Defence Paul Kehoe has said that attempts to dismiss a serving Air Corps whistleblower was not a disciplinary matter but was instead a way to ensure the long term health and safety of the member as well as the Defence Forces as a whole.

In the last 12 months, at least six former members of the Defence Forces have started legal proceedings against the State, alleging that they were exposed to toxic levels of chemicals and that a lack of protective equipment has left them with lifelong illnesses.

One of those whistleblowers was brought before St Bricin’s Military Hospital on Wednesday for a check-up. As things stand, he has not been dismissed on medical grounds.

Sinn Féín’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who has been following the case closely, said the man in question appeared before a medical hearing yesterday morning for the very reason he met the Minister of State – “that there was something rotten in the Air Corps in terms of health and safety, as he and other whistleblowers had outlined”.

Ó Snodaigh told the Dáíl: “His medical condition and others are directly related to mass exposure to highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.”In the last year, TheJournal.ie has reported on a number of elements on this whistleblower case.

Read full article on The Journal website below…

Delay – Deny – Die

PDFORRA will back Air Corps whistleblower at hearing

The organisation representing enlisted members of the Defence Forces says it will support the Air Corps whistleblower who is facing possible dismissal at a Medical Board hearing today.

The whistleblower, who has made protected disclosures to Junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe, is accused by military superiors of “chronic ineffectivity” due to anxiety and a “work- related industrial dispute”.

He had raised concerns surrounding workers’ exposure to the cancer-causing chemicals used by the Air Corps in cleaning and servicing its aircraft.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Authority led to the HSA threatening the Air Corps with legal action unless it implemented its recommendations. The whistleblower also alleged that earlier inspections at Casement Aerodrome in the 1990s produced reports raising concerns with the environment at the Air Corps HQ — and that these documents were destroyed.

In one protected disclosure he wrote that he was the victim of “defamatory allegations” by an official within the Air Corps which the whistleblower believes “was in effect an attempt to rebuke and intimate me, for highlighting genuine safety concerns”.

Read full article on Irish Examiner website below…

Delay – Deny – Die

Damning silence from political class as whistleblower faces the sack

As the country teeters on the precipice of a snap election over the mistreatment of whistleblower Maurice McCabe, another man who spoke up about wrongs within the public service is facing the sack from the Defence Forces — without a whisper from the majority of the political class.

Tomorrow a whistleblower who spoke out about his concerns for the health of those using cancer-causing chemicals to service the State’s fleet of aircraft is facing potential discharge from the Air Corps.

His charge? “Generalised anxiety disorder and work-related industrial dispute resulting in chronic ineffectivity,” according to the report issued ahead of the Medical Board hearing.

In January 2016, this whistleblower wrote a protected disclosure in which the alleged he was victim to “defamatory allegations” by an official within the Air Corps which the whistle-blower believes “was in effect an attempt to rebuke and intimate me, for highlighting genuine safety concerns”.

Read full article on Irish Examiner website below…

Delay – Deny – Die

Dáil Éireann – Priority Question 36 – July 11th 2017

To the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence.

36. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his department contacted the companies or persons that carried out the 1990s safety reports into aspects of the Air Corps’ safety procedures at Casement aerodrome, Baldonnel on behalf of the State agency Forbairt in order to ascertain if they might still have copies of the reports that his department claims to have lost.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh. [32262/17]

Dáil Éireann – Priority Question 29 – July 11th 2017

To the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence.

29. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on whether it is credible that all copies of the reports of inspections into health and safety at Casement Aerodrome in the 1990s sent by Forbairt to the Department of Defence in 1995, 1997 and 1998 have disappeared; his further views on the position of military authorities whose unconcern at their disappearance is matched by their inaction when informed the reports were missing; if he will initiate an independent probe into the disappearance of these reports which whistle-blowers claim in a protected disclosure were to be shredded on the orders of a named official; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh. [32215/17]

Dáil Éireann – Priority Question 28 – July 11th 2017

To the Taoiseach & Minister for Defence.

28. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when he received the report reviewing claims made by Air Corps whistle-blowers; when it will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Lisa Chambers. [32775/17]

Irish Army Air Corps Toxic Chemical Exposure – Survivors List of Demands

The priorities of the Air Corps Chemical Abuse Survivors is firstly to prevent further unnecessary loss of life amongst survivors and secondly to improve the quality of life of survivors by reducing unnecessary suffering.

Both the Royal Australian Air Force & the Armed forces of the Netherlands have offered templates as to how to approach unfortunate workplace chemical exposure issues with competence, fairness, justice & urgency.

We urge that all responsible organisations in the state such as political parties, government departments and the Defence Forces to work together to commit the state to provide the following for survivors as an ex. gratia scheme with no admission of liability by the state.

Current & future legal cases should be allowed to take their natural course unhindered whilst all survivors are cared for equally by the state.

Read more about our demands below.