The Defence Forces still has the invoice it received for a health inspection carried out on the Air Corps in 1997 — but not the report outlining the findings of the probe.
The State is being sued by at least six former members of the Air Corps, who claim their exposure to harmful chemicals caused their chronic illnesses.
Those taking the cases claim there was negligence on behalf of the State, which failed to provide them with the adequate protections or training.
However, the State has denied liability, and in one case stated that “no admission is made that the defendants exposed the plaintiff to dangerous chemicals or solvents whether on an ongoing basis or at all”.
The cases have been brought by men who worked in the Air Corps workshops from the late 80s up to the early 2000s.
It has been claimed health and safety inspections in the 1990s raised concerns about the working environment at Casement Aerodrome — however, the reports sent to the Defence Forces arising from these inspections now “cannot be located”.
Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has told the Dáil that he has seen a copy of the report, and that it raises health and safety issues concerning staff health. He has alleged the document has been destroyed as part of a cover up to disguise the fact the Defence Forces never acted on its recommendations.
The Irish Examiner can reveal that while the Defence Forces has no record of the inspection findings, it holds a copy of the invoice it received for the work from Forbairt, the former State agency paid to test the Air Corps’ Environment.
The Irish Examiner has submitted Freedom of Information requests to Enterprise Ireland, the Department of Defence, and the Defence Forces in an attempt to obtain the reports. Enterprise Ireland, which superseded Forbairt, said it destroyed all Forbairt records it had held prior to a certain date but copies were made and sent to the relevant departments.
It released a list of documents Enterprise Ireland copied and sent to the Department of Defence before it had the reports destroyed.
The Irish Examiner sent this information to the Department of Defence, but it said it cannot locate any copy of the report. A request to the Defence Forces also failed to locate the report — but copies of documents detailing the payment for inspection were released.
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