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.
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.