Limerick TD Niall Collins calls for buried toxic waste to be dug up

 'This remains a public health issue of serious concern and must be tackled'

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Limerick TD Niall Collins calls for buried toxic waste to be dug up

Whistleblowers contacted Deputy Niall Collins and the Limerick Leader saying up to 20 barrels of toxic waste were secretly buried in a field in Friarstown

UK LABORATORY analysis of water samples taken during an investigation into buried chemicals in Limerick have come back clear.

In May, whistleblowers contacted Deputy Niall Collins and the Limerick Leader saying up to 20 barrels of toxic waste were secretly buried in a field in Friarstown, Ballysheedy approximately 25 years ago.

After the story appeared Deputy Collins got a number of calls corroborating their claims and a further allegation that asbestos was buried in a separate hole on the site. 

The whistleblowers believe the chemicals are connected to a "circle of cancer". The say up to 30 people have died from cancer in the Friarstown area in the last 15 years. 

It is understood the current landowner doesn't know that anything is buried there. Limerick City and County Council launched an investigation. Water sourced from three private wells surrounding the area of concern was sent to the UK for analysis.

“They were tested for 12 heavy metals and up to 29 other contaminants. All results were negative and based on these results, no evidence has come to light to suggest any contamination of the water table in the area,” said a spokesperson.

Details of the alleged incident, as provided to the council, have not been sufficient enough to identify the exact location or nature of the alleged dumping, they say. 

“However, an area around the national monument site has been identified as being of interest. Because of the legislative restrictions protecting national monuments, any investigation in this area would be subject to licence. The council is currently investigating its options in this regard,” said a spokesperson.

Deputy Niall Collins welcomed the council's "thorough and conscientious" investigation.

“It is good news that the water samples have come back clear but that doesn't disguise the fact that a number of people have come forward to corroborate the whistleblowers that there is buried toxic waste in Friarstown. There have also been allegations made to me of asbestos been dumped there separately.

“Locals are very worried and I have received a number of phone calls from concerned citizens. There is a very high occurrence of cancer which the whistleblowers called a ‘circle of cancer’.

"Despite the fact that tests on the water have come back clear I am calling on the council to now begin progressing the investigation on the ground and remove whatever waste is buried there.

"It is complicated by the need for licences due to the national monument but this remains a public health issue of serious concern and must be tackled," said Deputy Collins.