A number of whistleblowers allege that a health and safety failure on the part of the Air Corps has caused their chronic illnesses. Joe Leogue looks at their case and how, just as with Garda Maurice McCabe, ‘coincidence after coincidence after coincidence’ has emerged to undermine their position.
“THERE are those who may say that this litany of grave errors can’t just simply be coincidence after coincidence after coincidence that is being suggested,” the senior counsel said.
The line was a standout contribution in a tribunal that made headlines in every news outlet this summer.
Senior counsel Pat Marrinan was talking about Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe — and how every one of a number of apparent ‘coincidences’ in his case worked to his detriment.
However, the line also resonated with whistleblowers involved in a different dispute.
A dispute that has found some at odds with the State. An ongoing scandal that has seen allegations of a cover-up, the alleged intimidation of those speaking out against the Defence Forces, and one that can be boiled down to one question: Are a number of men who served the State now seriously ill because of the Defence Forces’ failure to protect them from the effects of harmful chemicals?
Those speaking out do not believe the various occurrences — revealed in a series of articles in this newspaper since January — can be
The ongoing issue relating to chemical exposure in the Air Corps concerns two separate, yet related problems for the Defence Forces — the first of which was raised in 2013.
Back then, the first of a number of lawsuits against the State was filed in the High Court in which it was alleged that there were historic failures to protect technicians from the effects of the chemicals they used.
The second problem was revealed in November 2015, when the first of four whistleblowers within the Air Corps made protected disclosures to the then-defence minister Simon Coveney.
These men warned that the Air Corps was not doing enough to protect currently serving technicians from the harmful effects of the chemicals with which they clean and service the aircraft.
Their warnings would be vindicated following an independent investigation last year.
And yet the red flags should have been raised as far back as 2013, when the first of the lawsuits came — allegations that would be echoed years later by the protected disclosures.
Read more on the Irish Examiner below…