IS IT TIME IRISH MILITARY BASES HAD LQAs?
When I stood down as DOI of the Celtic League I was asked by the AGM to carry on the Celtic League Military Monitoring role we had undertaken for over three decades. In that capacity earlier this year the Irish Branch Secretary, Caoimhin Cadhla, forwarded a news cutting about a potential long term exposure/contamination issue involving Irish Air Corps personnel. The details are at this link:
Coincidentally the Celtic League ran a very successful campaign back in the early 1990s concerning pollution around military bases and the spillage usually due to lax environmental procedures of various carcinogenic substances including fuel, lubricants, de-icing compounds etc.
Eventually we sourced a suppressed British Army report by a women (2nd Lt Verity Orrel Jones) Royal Engineers Officer and brought this to the attention of UK members of Parliament. Subsequently the then Defence Secretary Michael Portillo admitted the seriousness of the issue and commissioned 600 Land Quality Assessments at British military bases (both permanent and temporary ) in Britain an N Ireland. The reports resuled in remedial work at many sites in Britain and N Ireland
Sometimes you miss what’s starring you in the face because of course the military tend to be the same everywhere and it’s unlikely that the lax procedures that allowed the pollution of bases by carcinogenic contaminants was not endemic on the other side of the border in the 26 Counties.
Interestingly the Irish government were made aware of our work in this regard when on the 7th of August 1998 I wrote to An Tanaiste about our concerns about pollution around military bases in the North and the potential implication for health of those living adjacent to the sites.
It strikes me that if Land Quality Assessments LQAs) similar to those carried out by the British military have not been undertaken at military sites operated by the Irish Defence Forces they should be. After all it’s not just service personnel potential pollution causes a threat to!
The Celtic League campaign work is archived in this rather lengthy general pdf file – however you can source the relevant sections by using ctrl-F and doing a word specific search:
Image: Irish military base Casement aerodrome.
pp Celtic League