Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Defence Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has today reiterated his call for the Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe to establish a formal investigation into the health effects of years of exposure to toxic chemicals on Irish Air Corps personnel
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of current and former members of the Irish Air Corps (both civilian & military) were exposed to a vast cocktail of highly dangerous workplace chemicals including carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicants and immune sensitisers.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh said;
“The failure of the Air Corps management to implement even the most basic chemical safety provisions possibly resulted in considerable physical and mental health injury to exposed personnel.
“The exposure to toxic chemicals for decades appears from figures collated by former Air Corps personnel to have contributed to a very high number of fatalities from a variety of rare and complex cancers, cardiovascular disease and suicides, and also high rates of miscarriage of partners.
“For 20 years, military authorities ignored recommendations from safety reports and only acted when their failure to act was highlighted by whistleblowers.
Read full press release on Sinn Féin website below…
Please view the honourable & fair demands of
Air Corps Chemical Abuse Survivors here.
- 77 verified deaths have occurred in total since 1980
- 64 of these deaths have occurred since 2000
- 40 of these deaths have occurred since 2010
- 25 of these deaths have occured since the Minister for Defence was notified by Protected Disclosure in 2015
Either the rate of death is accelerating or we are missing many deaths from previous decades or possibly both.
3 most significant causes of death
- Approximately a third of deaths are from cancer
- Approximately a third of deaths are cardiac related
- Approximately a fifth of deaths are from suicide (15)
*We record untimely as dying at or before age 66 (civilian pension age), average age of death is 50 years. We are counting deaths from medical reasons & suicide, we are not counting accidental deaths or murder.
Delay – Deny – Die
A new report by Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health in Ireland, has found strong public support for increased State investment in mental health services.
A survey carried out by the coalition found that 84% of respondents thought that the health service places too little focus on mental health.
The study found that the public are willing to invest more in mental healthcare when compared to other related healthcare programmes.
Mental Health Reform says staffing in mental health services is lower now than it was in 2008 and it is calling on the Government to boost investment in the area.
Note the graph below only includes personnel for whom we have death certificates for. We are in the process of verifying many more deaths, most of which relate to the earlier decades.
Prevention is better than cure.
If the government bother to medically & scientifically investigate the mental health illness cluster at the #IrishAirCorps where at least 13 serving & former personnel have killed themselves since 1980 they might learn something about environmental causes & triggers of mental health problems.
We suspect hydrocarbon fuels, engine exhausts, isocyanates, VOCs etc all have a part to play and the civilian population get exposed to these too but usually at lower levels.
So far the state have only sent in barristers. Think about it 65 men dead at an average age of 49 years and all the state can mobilise is barristers.
In the absence of military or government statistics on untimely deaths in the Irish Air Corps we created our own. We are happy to have these tested or even proven wrong by better statistics gathered by the state in a comprehensive, open and transparent manner. #WeAreNotStatisticians