Junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe has met an Air Corps whistle-blower and saw copies of inspection reports that have raised concerns about conditions in Casement Aerodrome dating back to the 1990s.
Click on above photo to learn about the chemicals therein
The Irish Examiner understands one of four Air Corps whistle-blowers met with Mr Kehoe last week, and showed him copies of documents that have prompted allegations in the Dáil of a ‘cover up’ in the force.
This newspaper revealed yesterday that the Department of Defence refused a Freedom of Information request from the Irish Examiner for the release of the reports on the grounds that it “cannot locate” the documents sought.
Opposition TDs, who also saw the documents, say they raised concerns about Air Corps members’ exposure to toxic chemicals over 20 years ago. The State is defending High Court cases taken by former Air Corps staff who say that they suffer chronic illnesses as a result of working conditions in Casement Aerodrome.
Last October, the Health and Safety Authority threatened the Air Corps with legal action unless it addressed shortcomings that the HSA had identified.
Whistle blowers had previously warned the Government of the dangers. Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh previously told the Dáil that the reports have been covered-up because of the failure of the Defence Forces to implement the changes that were recommended.
Yesterday he said that both Mr Kehoe and the Department of Defence need to explain why the documents cannot be located.
Read more on the Irish Examiner website.