Is it possible that these illnesses are a coincidence? Yes.
Could it be the case that there is no direct correlation between the chronic sickness suffered by former Air Corps staff and their working environment?
But the evidence to date —what is known about the chemicals used in Baldonnel, the international precedents, the HSA inspection, the internal Air Corps memo — all these support the argument that at the very least, the possibility that conditions in Baldonnel have made people sick is worth a proper investigation.
However, this is a question the Government won’t ask because it fears the answer.
It need not be this way.
Australia went through a major scandal when scores of its Air Force maintenance staff were found to be ill as a result of their working environment.
That scandal first emerged among a group of specialist staff who had a specific job, but the issue spread to Air Force staff who had exposures to a wider range of substances.
And yet in Australia, while those Air Force personnel involved in the health study have a higher rate of chronic illnesses than the general population, their mortality rate from those illnesses is actually lower.
Because the Australian government conducted an investigation, found a connection, and subsequently those affected knew the early warning signs, their doctors knew what to look out for, and earlier intervention was made possible.
There appears to be little appetite in Ireland to even investigate whether the same could possibly be happening here, despite the obvious potential benefits to a number of citizens.
Speaking privately, one of those who is seriously ill and who is before the court has admitted he believes he will be “in the ground” before his case reaches any sort of conclusion.
Read full article on Irish Examiner website below…