The European Commission has ruled out any possibility of conducting a baseline health study in the Cobh Harbour Area prompting calls from Labour Party TD Seán Sherlock and his colleague Munster MEP Alan Kelly for government action on the issue.
“We have worked together to raise this issue at European Level. It is now clear that the onus lies on the Irish Government to address local concerns on cancer rates in the area which are 37% higher in the Cork town than in the rest of the country,” said Alan Kelly.
“This warrants a very detailed analysis and study. Having raised this issue with the commission they have clearly pointed the finger at Irish government. In a written reply the environment commissioner stated; The Commission does not conduct regional environment and health studies, as indicated by the Honourable Member. The Member States have the responsibility to identify the reasons for increased cancer levels in certain areas and to take appropriate steps to improve the situation.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Sherlock has welcomed moves by the commission to investigate the site at Haulbowline for breaches of environmental law.
He said: “This is a move in the right direction but of little consolation to those living in Cobh. They are tired of listening to talk of working groups and directives but seeing little by way of action on the site.
“Alan Kelly hopes to sit down with some of the officials supervising the investigation to ensure action is taken. I welcome his efforts to monitor the issue at EU Level. I will also continue to raise the matter in the Dáil and have today called for a Dáil debate to seek the up to date position.”