Still no expert group set up to deal with toxic dump

THE Office of Public Work (OPW) has admitted it still has not set up an expert group to deal with tonnes of toxic waste dumped in Cork harbour – seven months after being told to do so.

The Irish Examiner revealed the existence of the toxic dump at Haulbowline in June 2008. It contained traces of the lethal carcinogenic chromium 6.

Last July, Environment Minister John Gormley said he had asked the OPW to form a “working group” which would examine the how to deal with the site.

The OPW yesterday issued a statement claiming it had produced “draft terms of reference” for the group which were being circulated. “The working group will be convened upon receipt of feedback,” the statement added.

Cllr John Mulvihill, who has fought to get the site rendered safe, said: “This is a very serious matter. People will be up in arms. We’re being treated with contempt.”

The Department of Defence has applied to dredge up to 36,000 tonnes of silt from the harbour at Haulbowline to enable navy ships to pass to and from their base safely. This was last done six years ago and the Naval Service says it must be repeated to maintain operations standards.

Mr Mulvihill said there was a risk that this silt had been contaminated by seepage from the toxic dump.

The firm which worked on cleaning up the site, Louis J O’Regan Ltd, is seeking €114 million in damages from the Department of the Environment for loss due to a breaches of a partnership agreement.

Six eastern Europeans who worked on the site are also seeking damages from the contractor claiming they were contaminated by chemicals as a result of flawed safety measures.


Lifestyle

The former Glenroe star has a new musical projectQuestion of Taste: Cork actor and musician Liam Heffernan answers our quick-fire questions

Suzanne Harrington talks to Deirdre O'Kane about that Normal People sketch, sexism in the Irish comedy scene and the positives of social media.Funny girl: Deirdre O’Kane laughing her way through the lockdown

Every nation has that moment, where it steps out from the shade of its dark past.Learning Points: Jack Charlton taught us how to dream

Arsenal v Liverpool is the big game in the Premier League, while Cate Blanchett continues in her role as Mrs AmericaWednesday's TV highlights: Mrs America and live soccer action

More From The Irish Examiner