Local anger at plans to burn cyanide gas

FAMILIES have reacted with fear and anger over plans to destroy batches of the deadly chemical hydrogen cyanide by explosion on Wicklow lands later this month.

Seven cylinders with residue and batches of the lethal chemical will be transported to army lands where the hydrogen cyanide will be burnt in open air.

A concentration of 300mg per cubed metre of the chemical in the air will kill a human in minutes.

Parents and farmers want Rentokil, the pest control group responsible for the chemicals, to do it elsewhere.

Young mother of two, Lisa Ní Domhnaill, was shocked when gardaí knocked on her door last week warning that her family would have to evacuate their home during the hazardous operation.

“They had a map with a red ring around the camp and said I would have to move out of the area on the day.

“I won’t be moving. We should’ve been given all the information. There’s been no guarantee it won’t affect plants, animals or humans.”

Ms Ní Domhnaill says she is worried for the health of her two daughters, baby Seoladh and Caomhog, 4.

The family cottage is the closest home to the Kilbride firing range, in Wicklow, which is being used for the operation.

“Will my children be safe for the rest of their lives? What if they go out and pick flowers the next day? What if it’s airborne?” she asked.

South Dublin County Council, leading the operation, say every precaution is being taken and emergency plans for accidents are ready. The fire brigade, health and safety experts and government departments are assisting the liquid’s destruction.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it was satisfied with the disposal plans but in a statement, added: “The relevant local authorities must ensure that the transportation and safe disposal of the cylinders is carried out in a manner that will not endanger public safety or harm the environment.”

Local councillors claim a “veil of secrecy” surrounds the chemical’s disposal. Local Sinn Féin chairman, Gerry O’Neill, said questions needed answering.

A public meeting for worried locals has been arranged for Monday in Kilbride.


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