Former aircraft mechanic Gavin Tobin alleges exposure to dangerous chemicals led to severe health issues
The Air Corps has failed to comply with a Supreme Court order to hand over safety documents to a former aircraft technician suing over his exposure to dangerous chemicals, a judge has ruled.
Gavin Tobin is one of about 11 former Air Corps members who allege continuous exposure to chemicals used in the maintenance of aircraft has led to severe health issues. His case, which was lodged in 2014, has been referred to as test case for the others.
Mr Tobin joined the Air Corps in 1989 as an apprentice aircraft mechanic and was based in Baldonnell until leaving service in 1999. He claims during his service he was exposed to dangerous chemicals on an ongoing basis which resulted in severe personal injury.
Mr Tobin alleges that his employers “failed to provide him with a safe place of work, a safe system of work, safe and proper equipment, appropriate training, and safe and competent co-workers.”
Last month’s ruling by Mr Justice Mark Heslin is the latest is a long-running legal battle over what documents the Air Corps is required to hand over to Mr Tobin as part of discovery in advance of a full civil trial.
The Air Corps was originally ordered by the High Court to make full discovery relating to the chemicals to which Mr Tobin was exposed during this time in the maintenance section. This was overturned by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court later confirmed the original order requiring broad-ranging disclosure.
Mr Tobin then received a substantial amount of documents, numbering over 1,200 pages. However these did not include some potentially important files, including safety certificates for the chemicals used by the Air Corps.
The Air Corps claimed it could not hand over the documents as they had been lost or destroyed in the intervening years. It also claimed it is under no obligation to seek replacements for these documents from the chemicals’ manufacturers.
Mr Justice Heslin ruled that this was an unreasonable position and that the Air Corps has failed to make proper discovery of documents.