Minster for Environment John Gormley has announced that new tests will be carried on the site of the former Irish Steel works at Haulbowline.
Mr Gormley said the tests were not possible on the contaminated area until now because of debris on the island and the unstable nature of the buildings.
There are fears the toxic dump, where carcinogenic metals have been found, could be linked to high cancer rates in Cobh.
In a letter to the recently formed pressure group, Cork Harbour Health Study, Minister Gormley outlined the history of the site and plans for the future.
He said: “Scoping work has been undertaken with testing expected to begin shortly. As was the case with all previous testing and reports these will be made publicly available when they are received.”
The Minister confirmed that over €50m has been spent on the island so far.
He added: “We are closer to a point where a determination on its future use can be made by Government. Then a programme of works will be put in place predicated on that future use,” he said.
“This I believe will deliver a valuable amenity back to the communities within the harbour and finally lay to rest the real and understandable environmental concerns.”
However, campaigners for a health study of harbour homes to examine the impact of the toxic dump said the minister’s words offered little comfort to the people of Cobh.
Chairwoman of the Cork Harbour Health Study, Amy Cullen, said: “Nowhere in Minister Gormley’s statement was there a mention of his promised baseline health study, or that his government colleague had recently ruled one out.”
Cork East TD David Stanton said the clean-up of Haulbowline has been a concern for residents for almost 10 years.
He said: “When I queried the Minister for Finance regarding the clean up of the site in 2003, I was advised that the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources had already commissioned a preliminary environmental assessment report.
“This was the first of a long line of reports commissioned to examine the type of waste on the site and extent of pollution,” added Mr Stanton.
Article courtesy of the Evening Echo newspaper.