Denying access to toxic chemical records will deny Irish Air Corps personnel proper medical treatment & condemn them to an early death. Delay-Deny-Die

Denying access to toxic chemical records will deny Air Corps personnel proper medical treatment. #GetAngry #IrishAirCorps #DefenceForces #DefenceForcesIsCostingLives
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DELAY – DENY – DIE

Suicide, cancer and organ failure – today we list all the alleged victims of the Air Corps chemical scandal

FOR THE LAST year, TheJournal.ie has been covering allegations made by former members of the Irish Air Corps that exposure to harmful chemicals during their careers has led to the untimely deaths of many of their colleagues.

It’s the contention of a number of Air Corps members that the effects of the chemicals contributed to dozens of workers at the Baldonnel Airfield becoming ill.

In a protected disclosure made by one of the workers earlier this year, it has also been alleged that the partners of male members of the force suffered serious fertility issues and a number of miscarriages. Other children, according to the protected disclosure, are living with life-changing illnesses and, in some cases, have died.

Today, after receiving details verified through death certificates of each of those who has passed away, we can publish details of 45 deceased members: their ages, their causes of death and what position they held in the Air Corps.

Read full article on The Journal website below…

Delay – Deny – Die

Probe into Air Corps allegations urged

The Air Corps’ failure to protect workers from exposure to cancer-causing chemicals may have affected thousands of people, causing 100 deaths as well as birth defects and miscarriages, the Dáil heard yesterday.

The claim, previously made in a protected disclosure to the Department of Defence, was aired as opposition politicians increased the pressure on the Government to commission an investigation into working conditions at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnell.

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin criticised the Government’s efforts to have whistle-blowers’ claims of health and safety mismanagement adequately investigated after the details of an independent report were reported by the Irish Examiner.

Christopher O’Toole, an independent third-party appointed to review the claims, reported that the kind of probe envisaged by the terms of reference he was given by the Department of Defence was “impractical”, given his own lack of expertise in chemical science and medicine.

However, Mr O’Toole did report that appropriate records that demonstrate the Air Corps complied with health and safety standards “are not readily available”.

Putting questions to junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe in the Dáil yesterday, Sinn Féin Defence spokesman Aengus O’Snodaigh outlined the litany of allegations against the Air Corps, noting claims of “clusters of highly complicated medical conditions, miscarriages, and birth defects among those who worked in those conditions”.

Read full article on Irish Examiner website below…

Delay – Deny – Die

Dáil Éireann – Priority Question 28 – 18th October 2017

Lisa Chambers (Mayo, Fianna Fail)

28. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the action he plans to take on foot of the recent review (details supplied) of Air Corps whistle-blower claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44189/17]

 

Call for Commission of Investigation into Air Corps claims

The Government is facing calls to establish a Commission of Investigation into whistleblower claims against the Air Corps, after the terms of an independent report into the allegations were branded ‘farcical’ by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

The Air Corps stands accused of failing to protect its technicians from the effects of cancer-causing chemicals, with whistleblowers claiming that decades of neglect has had a devastating effect on the health of members of the Defence Forces.

Yesterday, the Irish Examiner revealed that Christopher O’Toole, the author of an independent review of the allegations, said the terms of reference he was given for this probe were “impractical”, and that elements of the allegations made were issues outside his expertise.

Mr O’Toole also found that records demonstrating the Air Corps’ compliance with health and safety regulations “are not readily available”.

Whistleblowers had previously alleged that inspection records dating back to the 1990s were deliberately destroyed because they had raised concerns, but both the Government and the Defence Forces deny the claim, and say the reports in question were mislaid over time.

Mr Martin said he believes a Commission of Investigation is necessary: “The situation is far from satisfactory because with his opening comments the report’s author is essentially saying he cannot fulfill the terms of reference. From the Government’s point of view they established this review, they must have known the terms of reference could not be fulfilled. It’s farcical.”

“It seems to me there are no records of compliance with health regulations, which is very, very serious because in their absence one has to conclude that the probability is they were not complied with.

Read full article on Irish Examiner website below…

Delay – Deny – Die

Dáil Éireann Written Answers 20/06/17 – Defence Forces – No investigation into missing reports

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will instruct an independent third party to carry out an investigation into the reason Forbairt inspection reports dating from the 1990s cannot be found in view of his department’s failure to locate the Forbairt files and in further view of the possible significance of these missing documents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26895/17]

Paul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)

As I indicated to the Deputy in my letter of 17 May 2017, I was advised by the Military Authorities that there was a report on measuring CO fumes from aircraft complied by Forbairt in 1995 and a further report on monitoring air contaminants in workshops in 1997, which was also complied by Forbairt.

Unfortunately, following an extensive search and the Military Authorities having consulted with Enterprise Ireland (which superseded Forbairt) and having also conducted a search within the Department it has not been possible to locate these reports.

The military authorities have indicated that the Defence Forces have neither a hard copy record nor an electronic copy of the Forbairt Reports. The Military Authorities have indicated that there are a range of potential causes for the loss of the reports such as the changeover of electronic recording systems in 2004 or that the reports were misplaced over time. However this is purely speculative.

It is not proposed to have an independent third party carry out an investigation into the reasons the Forbairt reports cannot be found.

Dáil Éireann Written Answers 24/05/17 – Department of Defence – Air Corps – Military Police

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a military police investigation has been commenced to ascertain under whose orders documentation of Air Corps air quality tests were destroyed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24894/17]

Paul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)

As I indicated to the Deputy in my letter of 17 May 2017, an extensive search was undertaken by the military authorities to locate the two reports complied by Forbairt in 1995 and 1997. The military authorities also consulted with Enterprise Ireland (which superseded Forbairt). However, it has not been possible to locate the reports. I am advised by the military authorities that there are no plans to carry out an investigation into why these reports cannot be located.


Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a military police investigation has commenced to ascertain whether the failure to maintain health and safety standards and the subsequent illnesses caused to staff of the Air Corps breached military law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24895/17]

Paul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)

As I indicated in my responses to other recent Parliamentary Questions on this issue, a small number of former and serving Air Corps personnel are suing the Minister for Defence alleging personal injuries arising from exposure to workplace chemicals. You will appreciate that given that these matters are subject to litigation, I am constrained in relation to commenting.

However, I am advised by the military authorities that there is no military police investigation into this matter. The statutory authority for dealing with health and safety matters in the workplace is the Health and Safety Authority.

The Deputy will be aware that following a number of inspections at the Air Corps premises at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, in 2016, the Health and Safety Authority issued a report of inspection with a number of general improvements and recommendations for follow up. The Air Corps committed to addressing these recommendations as part of an eight phase improvement plan. The military authorities have advised me that six of the eight phases have now been fully completed and a further phase is progressing well and will be completed shortly. The final phase is a continuous ongoing process.

You will also be aware that in September 2016 I appointed an independent third party to review allegations made in a number of protected disclosures relating to health and safety issues in the Air Corps which were received in late 2015 and early 2016. Once a final review is to hand, I will determine any further steps required and ensure that all recommendations, whether arising from the work of the Health and Safety Authority or the ongoing protected disclosure review, will be acted upon to ensure the safety of the men and women of the Air Corps.


Firstly the Health & Safety Authority do not have the remit, staff levels nor funding to investigate legacy Health & Safety issues.

Secondly there appears to be no attempts and no willingness by the military to hold anyone to account in Irish Army Air Corps management for completely ignoring government chemical Health & Safety legislation.

Third the minister has never made any reference, neither in Dáil Éireann nor in replies to parliamentary questions, to any concern held by him for the physical & mental health of former members of the Air Corps nor their partners & children.

Dáil Éireann Written Answers 23/05/17 – Defence Forces – Suicide Rates

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of recorded suicides of personnel serving in the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps from 2010 to date, in tabular form. [24001/17]

Paul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)

I am advised by the military authorities that the Defence Forces Personnel Management System does not capture data on the number of suicides of serving members of the Defence Forces.

Therefore the Defence Forces are not in a position to provide the information requested in relation to death by suicide. All sudden deaths must be reported to the relevant Coroner’s Office. It is a matter for the Coroner to decide whether a post mortem should be conducted and to determine the cause of death.


Considering the ongoing mental health issues concerning both Air Corps workplace chemical exposures and Larium, for the Minister & Defence Forces to wash their hands of this is simply shocking.

Why are our Defence Forces not maintaining these statistics like their British counterparts?

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.

Dáil Éireann Written Answers 17/05/17 – Department of Defence – Protected Disclosures

Aengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has received and read a recent protected disclosure on serious breaches of health and safety procedures at Casement Aerodrome, including claims that personnel have died prematurely as a result of handling hazardous chemicals without adequate protection from retired Air Corps personnel who worked on the base; and his plans to deal with these latest revelations. [23196/17]

Paul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)

There are a number of elements to the correspondence to which the Deputy refers. I am arranging for the elements of the correspondence which relate to previous protected disclosures concerning health and safety issues in the Air Corps to be sent to the independent third party I appointed last year to review those allegations. Legal advice has recently been received in respect of the correspondence referred to by the Deputy and is being considered.

Once a final review is to hand, I will determine any further steps required and ensure that all recommendations will be acted upon to ensure the safety of the men and women of the Air Corps.