Press Release

Case for Public Health Survey not Supported – Haulbowline

The Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly T.D., today announced that expert advice indicates that no further public health investigation is warranted in connection with the Haulbowline site in the Cork harbour area.

As a result of concerns expressed by residents in the area in Cork about the potential health effects of the Haulbowline facility, Dr Reilly recently asked his Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, to examine the case for a public health study into the effects of the site.

The residents of the Cork Harbour area had raised concerns with regard to toxic waste on Haulbowline Island and elevated cancer rates in the media for a number of years. The Minister visited Cork on 29 April 2011 and during his visit the matter of the Haulbowline site was raised directly with him. Following on from this, and bearing in mind the extensive nature of the investigations undertaken to date, the Minister asked the Chief Medical Officer of the Department to advise him if the matter should be investigated further.

Dr Holohan has now completed an analysis of the factors involved and has advised the Minister, based on the considered opinion of experts from the National Cancer Registry Ireland (NCRI) and specialists in Public Health Medicine in the Health Service Executive (HSE) who have specific expertise and experience in the area of environmental health, that there are no identified public health grounds that warrant further investigative action.

Furthermore, following a recent Government meeting the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced the establishment of a steering group to oversee an application for a licence to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address hazardous waste on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour and oversee any necessary remedial action required.