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
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.