Haulbowline - Gormley meets local residents and releases report of site investigation


Mr. John Gormley, TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has met residents from the Cork area regarding the former steelworks site on Haulbowline.

The Minister assured the residents that the Government is committed to the safe management of this industrial legacy and to its future use as an asset for the area. He said - "While such remnants of previous industrial activity are quite common in other European countries, they are relatively rare here and can give rise to very real anxiety among the community. I am absolutely determined to be as transparent as possible as we bring this site to the point where the Government can make an informed decision as to its optimum use in the future for the benefit of the local community and economy."

The Minister said it was regrettable that the unauthorised actions of a contractor engaged in necessary interim remedial works had brought such concern to local people. He pointed to the fact that the contract had been terminated on legal advice when the developing situation demanded it.

The Minister pointed to his decision to engage consultants to carry out a site investigation to determine what, if any, are the implications for the site of the unauthorised works. The consultants engaged are White Young Green (WYG), who carried out a major site investigation in 2005 which identified no immediate threat to human health or the environment from the site. This earlier report will form part of the Government's consideration of the future use of the site and, for that reason, has not, to-date, been published.

However, the Minister has now decided to make the report available, stating - "In the situation that has now arisen, I believe it is right to now release the 2005 report and I am committed to also releasing the report on the further site investigation now underway. I do so to reassure people that relevant and accurate information is in the public domain to counter the misinformation being circulated in recent days."

The Minister also confirmed that the site has been monitored on a continuous basis since 2005 and that this continues to be the case. He is also making available reports summarising this monitoring.

The Minister concluded - "I want people to know that this challenging industrial legacy is being managed in a responsible fashion pending a decision on its future use. It is for this reason I am making this information available so as to reassure people that the site is being monitored and any issues which are identified will be properly addressed.

"The residents from the area have legitimate concerns in relation to the Haulbowline site and I was glad to meet them this evening and to listen to their concerns firsthand."

The Minister has arranged that the consultants - White Young Green - will be available to deal with media queries on technical issues arising from their work.