First year anniversary of formally asking Cathal Berry TD for assistance seeking medical intervention for injured Irish Air Corps chemical exposure survivors? Still NO response!

10th June 2021

Still awaiting a response from Cathal Berry TD exactly a year to the day from writing to him.

Apparently he is not so #CredibleCompetentCaring after all.

10th January 2021

Dear Deputy Berry,

Exactly six months ago on the 10th of June 2020, I  wrote a registered letter to you asking for your assistance obtaining medical interventions for chronically ill Irish Air Corps personnel in an effort to reduce unnecessary suffering & untimely deaths.

I am disappointed that after six months I have had absolutely no response or follow up to this letter, not even an basic acknowledgement of receipt.

As a former Defence Forces officer and as a medical doctor I hoped that you were best placed to both understand & champion in the Oireachtas the best interests of those suffering a multitude of health effects from decades of unprotected toxic chemical exposure in what HSA inspectors told me was “the worst case of chemical misuse in the history of the state”.

As I have not heard from you I can only assume that I was wrong and that you either simply do not believe there are any health problems suffered by serving & former Air Corps personnel due workplace chemical exposure, or worse still, you acknowledge personnel have been injured but have no interest in helping them.

I would be grateful if you could please reply publicly to this open letter and while doing so could please answer the following.

  1. Do you believe Irish Air Corps survivors when they tell you that the Health & Safety Authority found serious non compliance with the Safety, Health & Welfare At Work Act 2005 in relation to basic chemical health & safety at Casement Aerodrome and that the same HSA threatened prosecution if their “advice” was not complied with?
  2. Do you accept that the Safety, Health and Welfare At Work Acts 1989 & 2005 were enacted by the state to protect workers from injuries and if an organisation failed to implement these same Acts for decades after they were enacted then the likelihood of injury to personnel is increased?
  3. If you do accept that the Irish Air Corps was not in compliance with the Safety, Health and Welfare At Work Acts 1989 & 2005 and if you do accept that health and safety legislation is enacted to protect workers can you please explain why you have done nothing publically to raise awareness of the Irish Air Corps chemical exposure tragedy since you were elected to Dáil Eireann almost 1 year ago and why you have not mentioned it even once in your numerous chamber utterances or press releases.

I look forward to your response, if any.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin Tobin
Air Corps Chemical Abuse Survivors

Please find linked below a copy of my original letter to you and also a copy of the Health & Safety letter to the Air Corps dated October 2016 outlining urgent steps to be taken  threatening legal action if they are ignored. The HSA letter was obtained under FOI.

Dáil Éireann Written Answers 01/06/21 – Irish Air Corps leads Defence Forces in WRC complaints & settlements

Catherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)

QUESTION NO: 450 – 18th May 2021

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of times action has been taken against the Defence Forces and brought to the Workplace Relations Commission; the number of cases his Department has won, lost or settled out of court; the number that are ongoing by service that is Army, Naval Service and Air Corps in tabular form; the breakdown of the awards paid and settlements; and the legal costs of defending these actions. [26471/21]

Simon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) was established on 1st October 2015. Since that date twenty-eight (28) complaints have been made against the Defence Forces, with the Minister for Defence listed as the Respondent in all such cases.

Complaints made may originate from either Defence Forces personnel or civilians (“Others” in the table below). The Chief State Solicitor’s Office is responsible for the State’s legal representation for complaints lodged with the WRC where I am the named Respondent in my capacity as Minister for Defence, and any costs arising from such representation.

A breakdown of these complaints is as follows:

Defence Forces WRC Complaints (Overview)

Total Complaints Lodged Complaints Won - not upheldComplaints Lost-upheldComplaints Settled or WithdrawnAwards /
Ongoing Complaints

* Settlements containing confidentiality clauses are not included.

The origin of each of the nine ongoing complaints is as follows:

Defence Forces WRC Complaints (Ongoing)

ArmyAir CorpsNaval ServiceOther


Catherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)

QUESTION NO: 370 – 1st June 2021

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 450 of 18 May 2021, if he will provide a further breakdown in origin for the outstanding Defence Forces Workplace Relations Commission complaints; if he will provide a complete breakdown of the 28 WRC complaints by origin per service, that is, Army, Naval Service and Air Corps in tabular form; and if he will provide a breakdown and further details regarding the other category. [29475/21]

Simon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)

A complete breakdown of the 28 WRC complaints received by my Department, by origin per service in the Permanent Defence Force (PDF) is as follows:

Defence forces WRC complaints (Full)

Type of ComplaintArmyNaval ServiceAir CorpsOther
Won - not upheld*0132
Lost - upheld0010
Settled or Withdrawn**1

* The correct number of Complaints Won (not upheld) should have read 6 in PQ 26471

** The correct figure for Complaints Settled or Withdrawn should have read 12 in PQ 26471

The category titled “Other” in the table above refers to complaints made to the Workplace Relations Commission by non-PDF members, including members of the Reserve Defence Force and the general public regarding issues concerning the Defence Forces.