Claims News

Air Corps Toxic Exposure Claims made by Former Mechanic

Posted on: May 8th, 2017

A former mechanic has claimed the Defence Forces are not doing enough to protect servicemen and their families from air corps toxic exposure.

The former air corps engineer came forward under a protected disclosure agreement to raise concerns about the physical and psychological wellbeing of servicemen at the Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, County Dublin, due to air corps toxic exposure.

Addressing an assembly of senior Ministers, TDs, senators and members of the Defence Forces, the whistle-blower claimed the unprotected exposure to known carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals was causing servicemen, their partners and their children to suffer illnesses – some of which were fatal.

The whistle-blower alleged exposure to the chemicals had resulted in the alleged untimely death of twenty servicemen. He also claimed that five children had died from cancer-related and birth defect-related illnesses and that many servicemen´s partners were experiencing fertility issues.

The allegations come at a time when the State Claims Agency is already defending six air corps toxic exposure claims made in 2015 and 2016 by former servicemen suffering neurological issues. All six plaintiffs worked in repair and maintenance workshops at the Casement Airbase.

In the servicemen´s favour, a Health and Safety Authority (HSA) inspection of the Casement Airbase last October identified health and safety issues related to the air corps toxic exposure claims and “in need of immediate attention”. The HSA threatened to prosecute the Defence Forces if its recommendations were not carried out.

Following the most recent air corps toxic exposure claims, a spokesperson for the Department of Defence told thejournal.ie an independent third party had been appointed to review the allegations and it would be inappropriate to comment before receiving their report. A spokesperson for the Defence Forces would only say: “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

However, the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces have been criticised by Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh. He told thejournal.ie air corps toxic exposure claims “have largely fallen on deaf ears” since the 1990s. He described the most recent revelations about a lack of health and security at the Casement Airbase “alarming”, and accused junior Justice Minister Paul Kehoe of being indifferent “to the plight of the Defence Forces”.



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