Independent report of Air Corps whistleblowers claims completed

An independent report reviewing claims made by Air Corps whistleblowers has been completed, the Department of Defence has confirmed.

Since December 2015, four whistleblowers have made protected disclosures about health-and-safety conditions in the Air Corps workshops at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel.

As previously revealed by this newspaper, disclosures included claims that staff were not adequately trained to handle dangerous chemicals, and were not given the appropriate personal protective equipment required to limit their exposure to the toxic substances.

Last October, the Health and Safety Authority issued a damning report, in which it threatened legal action against the Air Corps, unless it addressed shortcomings — which reflected the concerns raised in the whistleblowers’ disclosures.

Meanwhile, six former members of the Air Corps are taking High Court cases against the State, claiming their chronic illnesses are as a result of historic health-and-safety mismanagement at Casement Aerodrome.

A whistleblower has claimed that inspection reports from the 1990s, when all six men worked in Casement Aerodrome, were deliberately destroyed.

A spokesperson for the Department of Defence confirmed that junior minister, Paul Kehoe, has received a copy of the completed review into the claims.

“The minister has received a report from the independent reviewer, who was appointed to examine disclosures relating to matters of health and safety in the Air Corps,” said the spokesperson.

“In light of ongoing litigation, legal advice is being sought in relation to the report.

“The minister will then consider the next steps to be taken,” he said.

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