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Extent of clean up on Haulbowline Island questioned

category national | environment | press release author Tuesday May 22, 2018 17:43author by foie - Friends of Irish Environment Report this post to the editors

Press Release - Friends of the Irish Environment - 20th May 2018

EU ‘seeks clarification’ over toxic waste site

The European Commission has written to Ireland ‘seeking clarification’ about the remediation work taking place on the hazardous waste site within the defunct steel works Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour.

PRESS RELEASE
20 May 2018
FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT

EU ‘seeks clarification’ over toxic waste site

The European Commission has written to Ireland ‘seeking clarification’ about the remediation work taking place on the hazardous waste site within the defunct steel works Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour.

Cork County Council is completing the clean-up of the 9 hectare East Tip but the machinery is to be removed at the end of the summer, leaving the 11 hectares of the ‘South Tip’ and the site of the original steel mill itself in a contaminated and unusable state.

The works forms part of Ireland's Programme of Measures to address the Waste Case judgment in April 2005 of the European Court of Justice against Ireland. A 2015 letter from the Irish Authorities to the European Commission committed the State to ‘full remediation of the former East Tip as well as a ground level remediation of the nearby South tip and former steelworks factory site.’

At the time then Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney confirmed the Government’s commitment to an “all island approach” to clean-up contaminated waste in a plan that would take 2½ years to complete and cost €61 million.

According to FIE, who lodged the original complaint over the contaminated site in 2009, in fact 2 ½ years later ‘less than half the contaminated area has been remediated and only €13m has been spent.’ The current Agricultural Minister Michael Creed visited the site in December 2017 to observe the remediation of the East Tip but made no mention of the remaining areas.

The enquiry from the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella comes after FIE first expressed concerns at a meeting on the island in 2011 about the limited scope of the proposed clean-up, leading to the 2015 commitment to an ‘all-island’ approach.

However it now appears that the 2013 the planning application and license application were limited to the 9 hectare East Tip and, according to FIE Director Tony Lowes, there have been no further licensing or planning applications.

Mr. Lowes said ‘It is now 10 years since our first complaint to the European Commission about the extensive hazardous waste left on the island only to find that the areas of highest contamination around the steel plant itself have not even begun the waste licensing process. And all the while toxic waste is seeping away into Cork Harbour through tidal incursion and heavy rainfall.’

The letter states the Commissioner ‘hopes to be in a position shortly to provide you with a substantive response.’

ENDS

Further Information
Tony Lowes 353 (0) 87 2176316 / 353 (0) 27 74771

Letter from Commissioner
http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/images/cmsf...8.pdf

Complaint and Documentation:
http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/images/pdf/...8.pdf

Original 2009 Report: ‘Toxic Island’
http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/attachments...d.pdf

Related Link: http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.org/fie-work/86...-site
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