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  1. #1
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    Air Corps report a ‘horror story’

    I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned here yet. After the debacle in the PAC with the disposal of the GIV, this asks huge questions about how the Air Corps operates. The connected stories are also quite worrying.


    Air Corps report a ‘horror story’
    Thursday, February 09, 2017
    Joe Leogue

    An*Irish Examiner*investigation into working conditions in the Air Corps has revealed a “horror story”, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil yesterday
    Mr Martin made the comment as he called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to publish the Department of Defence’s procedures for handling protected disclosures following further revelations in this newspaper.
    Yesterday, this newspaper reported the detail of text messages between chief whip Regina Doherty and a whistleblower who had warned the Government of Air Corps staff exposures to cancer-causing chemicals while working at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co Dublin.
    The whistleblower had contacted Ms Doherty to seek her help in receiving confirmation from then- Defence Minister Simon Coveney that he had read the protected disclosure submitted in late 2015.
    In January 2015 Ms Doherty passed a message on to the whistleblower indicating that Mr Coveney would call him the next day.
    None of the three whistleblowers have been contacted by Mr Coveney or junior defence minister Paul Kehoe since they made their disclosures more than a year ago.
    However, speaking last week prior to the revelation of the text messages between Ms Doherty and the whistle- blower, Mr Coveney said he was not aware of any problems in receiving contact from whistleblowers, claiming that he was an “accessible minister”.
    Reacting to the report on the text messages, Mr Martin told the Dáil the series of articles in the Irish Examiner*“reveals a horror story of what is going on, and what went on, and demands at least a proper transparent response from government”.
    “Under the [Protected Disclosures] Act, proper procedures are meant to be in place in the Department of Defence to react to protected disclosures,” said Mr Martin.
    “Could the Taoiseach publish the procedures of the Department of Defence or could he give me a copy of them? Will he confirm that such procedures are involved?” he asked.
    In his response, Mr Kenny outlined the details of a Health and Safety Authority report, which were previously reported in this newspaper.
    “That is not what I am talking about,” Mr Martin said amid heated exchanges.
    “I simply asked the Taoiseach why the Government chief whip and the former minister for defence are silent on the issue of the lack of response to a whistleblower to confirm to him that his protected disclosure has been received by the minister,” he said.
    Mr Kenny said he would provide Mr Martin with a copy of the procedures.
    Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil defence spokeswoman Lisa Chambers said she was shocked by yesterday’s reports and called on Mr Coveney to clarify his position on his knowledge of whistleblowers’ claims to contact him.
    Ms Chambers’ request for the matter to be further raised in the Dáil yesterday under topical issues was unsuccessful, but she said she would be seeking to put the matter to Mr Kehoe at the next opportunity
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland...ry-442380.html
    Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon, if you wanna stay. I know, gutting. On a more positive note, the good news is, I've been promoted, so... every cloud. You're still thinking about the bad news aren't you?

  2. #2
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    I thought it had been mentioned somewhere but can't find it.

    Why did the HSA allow it to continue?

    Does annual medicals not count as occupational health surveillance?

  3. #3
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    There is also the whole can of worms that is the storage and handling of hazardous chemicals, and the risks to technicians caused by their incorrect storage and use. This is another army deafness saga, waiting to happen by the sound of it.

    PDForra waiting for reply on Air Corps toxins exposure fears
    Friday, February 03, 2017
    Joe Leogue and Daniel McConnell

    The organisation representing members of the Defence Forces is still waiting for a reply after raising concerns about the exposure of members of the Air Corps to cancer- causing toxins.

    PDForra wrote to both the Defence Forces and Department of Defence six months ago — prior to the publication of a damning Health and Safety Authority report on working conditions in Baldonnel — the details of which were revealed in an Irish Examiner investigation.
    Ger Guinan, deputy general secretary of PDForra, said he became “acutely aware” of chemical exposure concerns having met with Dutch counterparts at a European Organisation of Military Associations (Euromil) conference last year.
    Last August, Mr Guinan wrote to the Defence Forces requesting information on the use of paints containing Chromium 6, any lubricants or cleaners containing Benzene, and the details of the safety advice given to those handling these chemicals.
    The following October, Mr Guinan wrote to the Department of Defence to complain that no risk assessments were carried out within the Air Corps for the use of hazardous chemicals.
    Despite asking that the department respond as a matter of urgency “given the gravity of the issue”, it has yet to receive the information requested from either the department or the Defence Forces.
    Meanwhile, Housing Minister Simon Coveney has insisted he is not aware of attempts by Air Corps whistleblowers to contact him about their concerns while he was Minister for Defence.
    Mr Coveney insisted there is no campaign to block anyone from raising matters of concern, adding that he is “a pretty accessible minister”.
    He said: “I am not aware of any whistleblower trying to meet with me. I have certainly have not got that message.
    “When I was Minister for Defence the issues in the Air Corps were raised with me and we put in place a process of investigating those and that is what happened”.
    “I am not the minister for defence now and Paul Kehoe is the minister and wants to deal with it comprehensively,” he added
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland...rs-441975.html
    Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon, if you wanna stay. I know, gutting. On a more positive note, the good news is, I've been promoted, so... every cloud. You're still thinking about the bad news aren't you?

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  5. #4
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    Also, exposure to deadly chemicals and unsafe disposal/handling of same doesn't just apply to the AC. I doubt very much if the Army and NS were paragons of health and safety either.....I worked in the workshop that is at the centre of the Air Corps allegations, in the 80s and so far, I'm in good health, unlike a lot of my former colleagues, who suffered crippling illnesses/reactions to chemicals/nerve damage and potentially, damage affecting childbirths and illnesses to family. This has potential to make the Deafness cases look puny by comparison.

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    I too encountered Trichloroethane and Trichloroethylyne while working for a time in the aviation repair industry.
    We were told the chemical was not environmentally friendly as it contained CFCs and were given half mask respirators with 1 filter to wear when working in a confined space with it. It was used mostly for cleaning engine parts, either in liquid or vapour form.
    However what I can say is I had no history of airway difficulties up to working in that industry, and immediately after many people would come to me asking how come I didn't have an inhaler for my obvious asthma?
    My point is it was not unique to the Defence Forces. I'm sure the former workers at Airmotive or even Shannon Aerospace at the time could tell similar stories. The difference being the companies that presided over those workplace practices no longer exists as that particular entity, and can pass the buck back to their earlier iterations. Not so with an organisation that proudly traces its history back to 1922.
    Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon, if you wanna stay. I know, gutting. On a more positive note, the good news is, I've been promoted, so... every cloud. You're still thinking about the bad news aren't you?

  9. #7
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    More difficulties alleged by claimers;

    http://www.thejournal.ie/chemical-ex...13124-Jan2017/

  10. #8
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    You realise it's March now, yes? That article is from January, before this thread was opened.
    Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon, if you wanna stay. I know, gutting. On a more positive note, the good news is, I've been promoted, so... every cloud. You're still thinking about the bad news aren't you?

  11. #9
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    Is an annual medical not health surveillance?

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  13. #10
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    the annual medical was a joke, especially the leaving medical. the first really serious medical I had in the DF was the entry one and not one thereafter ever matched it. I did my Class 1 pilot's medical, as a civvy and that was 2 and a half hours of solid testing.

  14. #11
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    the annual medical was a joke, especially the leaving medical. the first really serious medical I had in the DF was the entry one and not one thereafter ever matched it. I did my Class 1 pilot's medical, as a civvy and that was 2 and a half hours of solid testing.
    But it is health surveillance in fairness. Of course it depends on honesty on both sides (eg fear of being downgraded etc), follows ups where something looks wrong or rings alarm bells etc

  15. #12
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    More in the Examiner, it must have really good sources/contacts , the series of articles on this issue are as if the journalist was/is present as matters unfold. Unbeatable.

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland...rs-444620.html

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    More again today, its almost like having a ringside seat.

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland...re-444699.html

  17. #14
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    HSA prosecution?

  18. #15
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    On one of our annual medicals, each individual exam by the Doc lasted approx. thirty seconds and most of the legwork was done outside by the Medical Aid Post people, in the usual shouty fashion. We were hustled through in jig time and our LA30s were rapidly stamped up and that was us done for another year. Quality medicine it was not!

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  20. #16
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    GTTC, did you have much contact with the toxic fluids during your sojourn in the AC, any neg outcomes ?

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    Plenty; I served in the Engine/NDT shop where most of the degreasing agents were used; nothing major so far and I'm 51 in a few weeks, just a tendency to have more colds and chest infections.

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    If you're not checking out @accasinfo on Twitter you should. Their media feed paints a thousand words

  25. #20
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    Joe public has a 1 in 6 chance of developing cancer anyways, i'm not saying the exposure to chlorinated compounds is good for you or belittling the health issues the bods concerned have but this stuff is pretty much impossible to prove. It sounds a lot like the Cobh people saying the "heavy industry" in cork harbour caused all these health issues.
    Everyone who's ever loved you was wrong.

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  27. #21
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    From what has been published so far I would not be surprised if there was a link to cancers in some circumstances I would have my doubts about how many are genuine.

    I suspect that once a fee has been agreed they will all sign the non disclosure line and be on there merry way.

    The ACCAS page and media commentry has a tendency to come across as a bit childish at times but they are getting the message out there all the same.

    I hope those who were genuinely affected get justice and those who were responsible are held accountable. Trouble is, every Tom, Dick or Harry who's had a nightmare in the last 20 years will want a piece of the gravy train.

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  29. #22
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    The chemical industry in Cork harbour environs was in infinitely better condition, regarding discharge of waste or exhausts than Irish Steel. Toxic dusts were routinely blown onto the naval base and even ships tied up alongside.

  30. #23
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    I would disagree slightly. Ifi pumped something in to the sky regularly that on a misty night put a nice green cloud over the upper estuary. Respiratory ailments were commonplace in children from the surrounding area. It was only when I moved to limerick that I realised this. Most of my class in secondary school had inhalers. Mostly those from towns on the harbour or overlooking.
    When ifi went the green clouds went also.
    Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs. Those of you who are kept on will have to relocate to Swindon, if you wanna stay. I know, gutting. On a more positive note, the good news is, I've been promoted, so... every cloud. You're still thinking about the bad news aren't you?

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  32. #24
    Non Temetis Messor The real Jack's Avatar
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    Irish steel was a small plant really, was only open what 30 years? and weren't they on strike half the time? IFI is famous for what they released back in the day but in the scheme of things the Cork harbour area hardly counts as industrialised compared to areas in the UK/US/Germany where more industry would be in a smaller area on a larger scale operating for longer. It's impossible to prove that the factories in the area/chemicals dealt with in the Don caused an increase in cancer rates/asthma/whatever.

    From the pics posted by that twitter page there was a massive shake up needed in the Don to emphasise the "going to jail" nature of H&S legislation, hopefully an education was administered.
    Everyone who's ever loved you was wrong.

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  34. #25
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    Irish steel was a small plant really, was only open what 30 years? and weren't they on strike half the time?
    I trust you never saw Irish Steel up close and personal in the mid to late 1980s and read the reports on the residues remaining?
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