Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Hazardous Waste Removal
I am delighted the Minister, Deputy Creed, is in the House to reply to the query. Haulbowline Island, as we know, has been the subject of remediation works since 2011 and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is the current owner of the site, which is the former Ispat or Irish Steel site. We know the East Tip of the island has been significantly remediated in the last year or so and there is great praise for the work that has been done in respect of the football pitch and the East Tip itself being completed, with proper seeding and shrubbery being planted, and so on. However, there is a question mark over the remainder of the site. My understanding is that three sites were to be remediated. The East Tip is arguably all but complete and there has been much progress on that. I am here to ask the Minister about the status of the remainder of the works and when they will be completed. There is massive expectation on the part of the people who reside in that area, particularly the people of Great Island and Cobh. We know Spike Island has become a global tourist attraction and there is a high expectation that Haulbowline would be completed and remediated in a timely fashion.
I hope the Minister will not respond by saying the ownership of the site is to transfer to the Department of Defence and it then will take ownership of the issue. As far as the people of Great Island are concerned, this is a whole-of-Government issue which should be responded to by everybody across Government. I am hopeful there will not be a turf war between the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Defence in respect of the remainder of the works that need to be done. In fairness to the Minister, he has taken ownership of this issue thus far. He stated the remediation works would intensify between July 2017 and late 2018, which has proven to be the case, as I acknowledge. I am hopeful the Government will take a whole-of-Government approach to this issue. I would specifically like to know if there is a funding line available and earmarked for the remainder of the works to be carried out. I ask the Minister to explain the exact position in respect of the site because the expectations are high in the area that the remediation works will be completed.