849. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will commission a study to investigate the potential link between chronic illnesses suffered by former Air Corps technicians and their exposure to toxic chemicals during the course of their duties, similar to inquiries established in Australia that found that conditions suffered by its air force staff were as a direct result of their working conditions. (Question 11866/17 asked on 07 Mar 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As I indicated in my responses to other recent parliamentary questions on this issue, it is not appropriate for me to comment on the matter of former Air Corps personnel who claim personal injuries alleging exposure to workplace chemicals at this time as these cases are the subject of ongoing civil litigation before the High Court. In reference to enquiries conducted in Australia, I am informed by the military authorities that ...

547. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will waive legal privilege and publish the Chemical Exposure Report 1994-2005 in the public interest and in the interest of transparency. (Question 40484/17 asked on 26 Sep 2017 - Defence Forces Reports)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The report referenced by the Deputy was prepared in the context of ongoing legal proceedings. As the release of the report could adversely impact on those proceedings, I will not be releasing the report. 
 ...

36. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the length of time he, his Department and the military authorities have been aware of the issues highlighted by the protected disclosures made by former and serving members of the Air Corps into the health and safety and working conditions in Casement Aerodrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7648/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017 - Defence Forces Personnel)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: My question asks how long the Minister, his Department and the Air Corps authorities been aware of the major health and safety issues related to the handling of, and exposure to, chemicals for personnel stationed at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel.
 ...

2. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to carry out a medical or health audit of serving and former members of the Air Corps similar to that undertaken in Australia in order to identify those that may have been exposed on an ongoing basis to toxic chemicals during their service. (Question 3490/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Air Corps)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Given the possibility that there is a major health scandal hidden in the Air Corps due to bad health and safety standards, is it not logical that an audit or survey of the health of serving members and ex-serving members be carried out to determine the scale of the health problems in Ireland, similar to the survey that was undertaken in Australia when that country became aware of serious exposure of serving members to deadly chemicals?
 ...

848. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to pending litigation by former Scottish RAF servicemen who are launching a multimillion pound legal case on behalf of air crew who have suffered serious illnesses and death as a result of exposure to hazardous chemicals when working on Scottish air bases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9695/17 asked on 28 Feb 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 848 and 849 together.
It would not be appropriate for me to comment on any matters that may be the subject of litigation in another jurisdiction.
 ...

27. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will establish a review to determine if the chronic illnesses suffered by former Air Corps staff were as a result of exposure to chemicals while working at Casement Aerodrome. (Question 15412/17 asked on 29 Mar 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As I indicated in my responses to other recent Parliamentary Questions on this issue, a number of former and serving Air Corps personnel are suing the Minister for Defence alleging personal injuries arising from exposure to workplace chemicals. It is not appropriate for me to comment on this matter at this time as these cases are the subject of ongoing civil litigation before the High Court.
The Deputy will be aware that there ...

29. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a commission of investigation into serious allegations of an ineffective or non-existent health and safety regime in the Air Corps will be established in view of the fact that a person (details supplied) stated in their report that the allegations made by the three whistleblowers could not be adequately dealt with in the type of informal review they were tasked with carrying out. (Question 44083/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Defence Forces Investigations)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Given that the Minister of State has now received the O’Toole investigation report, he is clearly attempting to fudge the issue as the report clearly states that the issues raised by the whistleblowers could not be adequately addressed. In light of this, will the Minister of State now set up an inquiry into the virtually non-existent health and safety regime in the Air Corps? In the past this absence of a regime exposed hundreds of Air Corps members to highly toxic, d...

61. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to the chemical exposure report 1994 to 2005 produced in 2014 by a person (details supplied); if a copy of that report was made available to the independent reviewer to allow them carry out a full assessment of the way in which the Air Corps dealt with recent whistleblowers’ statements; if not, the reason therefor; and if its publication will be authorised. (Question 52875/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - Departmental Reports)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I can confirm to the Deputy that my attention has been drawn to the Chemical Exposure Report 1994 to 2005. As I outlined to the Deputy in my reply to Parliamentary Question number 547 of 26 September 2017, the report was undertaken in the context of ongoing legal proceedings. As the report is subject to legal privilege, it was not appropriate to make it available to the independent reviewer. The material used for the purpose ...

267. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a military police investigation has commenced to ascertain whether the failure to maintain health and safety standards and the subsequent illnesses caused to staff of the Air Corps breached military law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24895/17 asked on 24 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As I indicated in my responses to other recent Parliamentary Questions on this issue, a small number of former and serving Air Corps personnel are suing the Minister for Defence alleging personal injuries arising from exposure to workplace chemicals. You will appreciate that given that these matters are subject to litigation, I am constrained in relation to commenting. 
However, I am advised by the military authorities that t...

1383. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the recent discovery at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel that gloves provided to personnel to protect them from toxic chemical exposure had been found to offer inadequate protection; if harm has been caused to personnel as a result of this inadequate protection; and if there was independent oversight into the process of choosing and purchasing health and safety personal protective equipment. (Question 46383/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Defence Forces)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Deputy will be aware that the State Claims Agency is currently managing six claims taken between 2013 and 2016 by former and current members of the Air Corps against the Minister for Defence for personal injuries alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances whilst working in the Air Corps in Baldonnel in the period 1991 to 2006. Given my responsibilities and the fact that the Minister for Defence is the Defendant in t...

34. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to follow the approach of other states in addressing concerns raised by Air Corps personnel in relation to the issue of toxic exposure. (Question 3179/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As the Deputy will be aware, following an inspection in 2016, the Air Corps has continued to work with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to improve its health and safety regime. The military authorities have informed me that the HSA has formally noted the considerable progress made to date by the Defence Forces towards implementation of a safety management system for the control of hazardous substances. Subject to completio...

465. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the Health and Safety Authority inspections of the Air Corps at Casement Aerodrome were by invitation or as a result of complaints regarding ongoing and long-term health and safety violations by serving and former personnel. (Question 9393/17 asked on 23 Feb 2017 - Health and Safety Inspections)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I am advised by the military authorities that the three inspections conducted by the Health and Safety Authority at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel in 2016 were as a result of a complaint the Authority received in relation to chemical safety in the Air Corps.
The military authorities have further advised that they have no details regarding the source of this complaint.
 ...

128. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 129 of 14 November 2017, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the State Claims Agency commissioned a retrospective report covering 1980 to 2007 to be carried out by the formation safety office Air Corps on much of Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnell, which was issued on 6 February 2014; if the State Claims Agency carried out actions on receipt of the report such as issuing findings to the Minister for Defence, the Health and Safety Authority, the chief of staff of the Defence Forces or Casement Aerodrome authorities; and if it withheld it for future use or not as it saw fit in legal proceedings being pursued against the State. (Question 53000/17 asked on 12 Dec 2017 - State Claims Agency)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The SCA have informed me that in answering question 129 of 14  November 2017 it interpreted the request to relate to its audit programme carried out by its Risk Unit. They have also informed me that in August 2013 on receiving a claim in which it was alleged that personal injuries were caused by exposure to toxic substances in Baldonnel, the SCA emailed Litigation Branch and Claims Administration asking that a Liaison Officer (L.O.) be appointed to...

46. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the action which will be taken on the Air Corps chemical exposure scandal in view of the receipt of the whistleblower’s views on the O’Toole Report. (Question 3606/18 asked on 24 Jan 2018 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a priority for me. In September 2016, I appointed an independent third party to review allegations made in a number of protected disclosures relating to health and safety issues in the Air Corps which were received in late 2015 and early 2016.
The report of the independent third party was received by the Department in June 2017. Although the report found that...

44. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason the military authorities did not act on foot of the first Health and Safety Authority report into the handling of dangerous and carcinogenic materials by Air Corps personnel without the appropriate protective clothing, adequate training or basic equipment, instead of waiting for the final report, thus prolonging the exposure of personnel at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel. (Question 7298/17 asked on 15 Feb 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: We dealt earlier today with the questions on what has occurred for many decades in Baldonnel Aerodrome. I ask once again that the Minister of State take the required action to ensure protective clothing is provided and every single step is taken to ensure the current serving members of the Air Corps are protected.
 ...

531. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason he indicated (details supplied) further to the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 1383 of 7 November 2017, when the question related to the current gloves being used by Air Corps personnel for protection against toxic chemical exposure was found to have been inadequate and if there was an oversight on procurement of health and safety personal protective equipment; and if he now will answer the question posed. (Question 48165/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Air Corps Equipment)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Deputy will appreciate that it would be wholly inappropriate for me to comment in respect of any matters relating to ongoing litigation and I deemed the wording of his previous question to be such as to potentially encroach into the remit of the Courts in relation to the litigation referred to in my reply. 
However, I wish to assure the Deputy that I have been advised by the Military Authorities that Air Corps personnel ar...

233. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of chemical risk assessments on record with the Air Corps group formation health and safety office. (Question 42130/17 asked on 04 Oct 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As this matter pertains to litigation which is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time.
 ...

656. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the 2014 internal Air Corps report was made available to the independent third party appointed to investigate protected disclosures regarding health and safety issues at Casement Aerodrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25557/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As I indicated to the Deputy in my letter of 17 May 2017, an internal report was compiled by the Air Corps in 2014. The report was compiled at the request of the State Claims Agency in relation to a particular litigation case and as such is litigation privileged.
In line with the terms of reference for the Independent Review into alleged failings of the Air Corps in the area of Health and Safety with regard to the use of toxic ...

47. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his plans to commission a second review of claims by former Air Corps staff that say their exposure to toxic chemicals from the late 1980s to the early 2000s caused chronic illnesses in view of the fact that the person commissioned to perform the first review (details supplied) has stated that they were not in a position to consider the substances in use or implications for human health arising from such use in view of the fact these issues are outside their competence. (Question 43976/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Protected Disclosures)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 38, 47 and 65 together.
The health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces are a priority for me; that is why I ensured that protected disclosures alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances were investigated by an independent third party. The reviewer’s report has indicated that he felt that given the breadth of the remit of the Terms of Reference he commented in general t...

810. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to the fact that dangerous chemicals such as ardrox 666 were disposed of for the Air Corps by a company that collected and disposed of all such highly toxic, corrosive and carcinogenic chemicals; and if the amount of chemicals purchased corresponds with the amount sent for safe disposal by the company engaged by the Air Corps to carry out such work in the past 20 years. (Question 39259/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Defence Forces Properties)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 810 and 811 together.
As this matter pertains to litigation which is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time. 
 ...

327. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his Department, when requested, will disclose the chemicals being handled by serving and retired Air Corps personnel when working at Casement Aerodrome from the 1990s onwards. (Question 21009/17 asked on 03 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 327 and 328 together. 
As the information being sought is currently the subject of legal proceedings, the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment at this time.
 ...

134. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Health the way in which he plans to identify the persons that are at risk of suffering from side effects due to the chronic stimulation of their immune system through the gardasil HPV vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3751/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Vaccination is regarded as one of the safest and most cost-effective of all health care interventions. It is also one of the most effective ways a parent can protect the health of their child. Ireland’s childhood immunisation programmes have had a huge impact in improving the health of the Irish population. Diseases that used to be common in this country and around the world such as polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and many other serious inf...

36. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his Department contacted the companies or persons that carried out the 1990s safety reports into aspects of the Air Corps’ safety procedures at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, on behalf of the State agency Forbairt in order to ascertain if they might still have copies of the reports that his Department claims to have lost. (Question 32262/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Air Corps Operations)

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: This is a simple question and, to some degree, a follow-up to an earlier question. It seeks to nail down what actions the Minister, the military authorities or his Department have taken to track down at least four health and safety reports on Air Corps installations which were carried out in the 1990s and have vanished. Are we to depend on the Irish Examiner’s Joe Leogue’s investigative journalistic skills to unearth more information, as has been the case to date?
 ...

129. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the reason the State Claims Agency did not seek assistance from the Health and Safety Authority immediately when it discovered in 2013 and 2014 that serious and ongoing breaches of health and safety legislation, including lack of risk assessments, lack of chemical training and lack of personal protection equipment, were causing ongoing harm to personnel of all Air Corps ranks and none; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48048/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - State Claims Agency)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The NTMA have advised me that the State Claims Agency did not undertake audits in the Defence Forces in 2013 and 2014.
 ...

38. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on a person’s (details supplied) contention contained within their report on health and safety procedures at Casement Aerodrome that they lacked the powers, experience and competence to investigate the allegations made by the whistleblowers; the reason the scope of a review was so limited despite assurances made by him in Dáil Éireann that the review would adequately deal with the allegations made in the protective disclosures received by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44025/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Protected Disclosures)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 38, 47 and 65 together.
The health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces are a priority for me; that is why I ensured that protected disclosures alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances were investigated by an independent third party. The reviewer’s report has indicated that he felt that given the breadth of the remit of the Terms of Reference he commented in general t...

659. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the 2014 internal Air Corps report on health and safety issues at Casement Aerodrome prompted a review of health and safety management at the aerodrome at the time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25560/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 657 to 659, inclusive, together.
The position with regard to these reports is as set out in my letter to the Deputy dated 17 May 2017. As outlined in my letter, the internal report was compiled in relation to a litigation case. 
The Deputy will be aware that during 2016 the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) conducted inspections at the Air Corps premises at Casement Aerodrome Baldonnel on thre...

791. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health to establish an independent expert panel to hear evidence from members of the Reactions and Effects of Gardasil resulting in Extreme Trauma Support Group to examine if there is a causal link between the human papilloma vaccine, Gardasil, and the medical condition in an alarming high numbers of teenage girls reporting chronic debilitating effects subsequent to receiving the vaccine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10116/16 asked on 17 May 2016 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The HPV vaccine, Gardasil which was introduced in 2010, protects girls from developing cervical cancer when they are adults. It is available free of charge from the HSE for all girls in the first year of secondary school. 
Each year in Ireland around 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine protects against two high risk types of HPV (16 & 18) that cause 73% of all cervical cancers. Vaccinated women and girls will still be at ris...

657. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he or his predecessor were provided with the 2014 internal Air Corps report on health and safety issues at Casement Aerodrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25558/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 657 to 659, inclusive, together.
The position with regard to these reports is as set out in my letter to the Deputy dated 17 May 2017. As outlined in my letter, the internal report was compiled in relation to a litigation case. 
The Deputy will be aware that during 2016 the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) conducted inspections at the Air Corps premises at Casement Aerodrome Baldonnel on thre...

658. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his Department or the military authorities have provided the reason Air Corps inspection reports carried out by Forbairt in the 1990s have gone missing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25559/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 657 to 659, inclusive, together.
The position with regard to these reports is as set out in my letter to the Deputy dated 17 May 2017. As outlined in my letter, the internal report was compiled in relation to a litigation case. 
The Deputy will be aware that during 2016 the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) conducted inspections at the Air Corps premises at Casement Aerodrome Baldonnel on thre...

118. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the analysis he will carry out into the fact that 220 young girls are displaying the same symptoms within a similar timeframe of receiving the human papilloma virus, HPV, vaccine and the measures he will put in place to assist these young girls; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2379/16 asked on 20 Jan 2016 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I am aware of claims of an association between HPV vaccination and a number of conditions experienced by a group of young women. I want to make it quite clear from the outset that anyone who is suffering ill health is eligible to seek medical attention, and to access appropriate health and social care services, irrespective of the cause of their symptoms. People are assessed for eligibility for Medical Cards, disability or carers allowance individuall...

353. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Defence if increasing the air ambulance service’s mission hours to 1,400 would require the procurement of an additional helicopter or helicopters; and if so, the cost of same. (Question 36496/15 asked on 20 Oct 2015 - Air Ambulance Service Provision)

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Air Corps currently plays a significant role in support of the HSE through the provision of an emergency inter-hospital air ambulance service. In 2005, my Department and the Department of Health completed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which formalised arrangements for the provision of the inter-hospital air ambulance service by the Air Corps. This SLA was renewed in October, 2011 and provides for inter-hospital transfer by air for patients wit...

256. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Health his views on the numerous Gardasil safety studies including one released recently (details supplied). (Question 11136/17 asked on 02 Mar 2017 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 to 252, inclusive, 254 to 256, inclusive, and 259 to 261, inclusive, together.
The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health. The committee’s recommendations are informed ...

328. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the chemicals which were used for cleaning and maintaining aircraft at Casement Aerodrome from the 1990s to date in 2017, in tabular form. (Question 21010/17 asked on 03 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 327 and 328 together. 
As the information being sought is currently the subject of legal proceedings, the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment at this time.
 ...

401. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of the 28 Air Corps cadets currently in training that will be assigned as tech and fire crews. (Question 18867/17 asked on 13 Apr 2017 - Air Corps Training)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I am advised that upon successful completion of the Irish Air Corps Cadet Syllabus, all of the Air Corps Cadets currently in training will qualify as Pilot Officers. The individual postings of newly qualified Pilot Officers are based on Defence Forces operational needs, Unit strengths and requirements. Newly qualified Pilot Officers  are not trained as, nor will they fulfil the roles of, Aircraft Technicians or Fire Crews. The...

102. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if all the recommendations of the 2016 health and safety inspection report at Baldonnel have been implemented; the timeframe for the completion of outstanding recommendations; if a further inspection is scheduled by the Health and Safety Authority to examine compliance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6933/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): On 21 October 2016, the HSA issued its Report of Inspection to the Air Corps. This Report listed a number of matters requiring attention which included the areas of risk assessment.
The Air Corps as a consequence of this HSA report have implemented an improvement plan, which was conducted over eight phases and completed in December 2017.
I have been informed by military authorities that the HSA has formally noted the high level...

59. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has received and read a recent protected disclosure on serious breaches of health and safety procedures at Casement Aerodrome, including claims that personnel have died prematurely as a result of handling hazardous chemicals without adequate protection from retired Air Corps personnel who worked on the base; and his plans to deal with these latest revelations. (Question 23196/17 asked on 17 May 2017 - Protected Disclosures)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): There are a number of elements to the correspondence to which the Deputy refers. I am arranging for the elements of the correspondence which relate to previous protected disclosures concerning health and safety issues in the Air Corps to be sent to the independent third party I appointed last year to review those allegations. Legal advice has recently been received in respect of the correspondence referred to by the Deputy and...

326. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will address concerns that a person (details supplied) appointed to investigate protective disclosures into health and safety issues at Casement Aerodrome does not have the relevant qualifications to investigate the health and safety risks as they relate to hazardous chemicals and possible serious health complications for personnel that were tasked with handling these materials. (Question 21008/17 asked on 03 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 325 and 326 together.
The position is that in September 2016, I appointed an independent third party to review allegations made in a number of protected disclosures relating to health and safety issues in the Air Corps which were received in late 2015 and early 2016. The terms of reference for the review were as follows – 
“The review shall encompass a review of all relevant documents held by ...

205. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the observation in a review (details supplied) that the military authorities need to ensure that the role of the Health and Safety Authority in relation to workplace safety is understood and that there is an effective system in place to enable persons to raise safety concerns. (Question 43185/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 to 210, inclusive, together. 
I have made it clear that the health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a priority for me and therefore, I ensured that protected disclosures alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances whilst working in the Air Corps in Baldonnel were investigated by an independent third party. I have furnished the report to those who made the pro...

204. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on the observation in a review that the Defence Forces need to be able to demonstrate that an adequate system is in place to ensure that safety concerns can be raised by a member of any rank and to show that it has an ethos which makes safety the concern and responsibility of all; and the action he will take to achieve this. (Question 43184/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 to 210, inclusive, together. 
I have made it clear that the health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a priority for me and therefore, I ensured that protected disclosures alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances whilst working in the Air Corps in Baldonnel were investigated by an independent third party. I have furnished the report to those who made the pro...

101. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on research carried out by former airmen concerning 56 deaths with the average age of 48 as outlined in a protected disclosure; the action taken by his Department on foot of the protected disclosure; his plans to commission an investigation into these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6932/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Protected Disclosures)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The recent correspondence refers to issues which were the subject of a report by an independent third party appointed to review protected disclosures alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances. I am currently considering the next steps in light of the views received from the individuals concerned and in the context of ongoing litigation.  My consideration will also be informed by this recent correspondence.
 ...

849. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on claims the British Ministry of Defence have failed to take responsibility for the serious illnesses and deaths of 26 former servicemen who were regularly exposed to toxic substances at Scottish air bases; and his further views on the fact there are striking similarities between those cases and the situation which has allegedly occurred at Casement Aerodrome in respect of Air Corps personnel. (Question 9696/17 asked on 28 Feb 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 848 and 849 together.
It would not be appropriate for me to comment on any matters that may be the subject of litigation in another jurisdiction.
 ...

209. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the action he will take in view of the observation in a review (details supplied) of Air Corps whistleblower claims that all Defence Forces personnel are supposed to receive a routine medical at regular intervals but there appears to have been no special provision for personnel involved in maintenance work or a special alert in relation to persons that may have handled toxic chemicals. (Question 43189/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 to 210, inclusive, together. 
I have made it clear that the health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a priority for me and therefore, I ensured that protected disclosures alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances whilst working in the Air Corps in Baldonnel were investigated by an independent third party. I have furnished the report to those who made the pro...

68. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Health to establish an independent investigation into the adverse affects of the Gardasil vaccination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4555/16 asked on 03 Feb 2016 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 69 together.
The HPV vaccine, Gardasil which was introduced in 2010, protects girls from developing cervical cancer when they are adults. It is available free of charge from the HSE for all girls in the first year of secondary school.
Each year in Ireland around 300 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine protects against two high risk types of HPV (16 & 18) that cause 73% of all cervical cance...

208. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the action he will take in view of the recognition in a review (details supplied) of Air Corps whistleblower claims that the author was not in a position to judge whether there is now or was at the relevant time an actual level of exposure which was in fact potentially harmful. (Question 43188/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 to 210, inclusive, together. 
I have made it clear that the health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a priority for me and therefore, I ensured that protected disclosures alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances whilst working in the Air Corps in Baldonnel were investigated by an independent third party. I have furnished the report to those who made the pro...

238. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health his views on the 2008 FDA closing statement on Gardasil that reports that 73.3% of the healthy girls who participated in the clinical trials developed new medical conditions; if his attention has been drawn to the fact, whether he is aware that the vaccine was taken off the recommended vaccine schedule in Japan due to its adverse effects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31360/16 asked on 20 Oct 2016 - Vaccination Programme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health. The committee’s recommendations are informed by public health advice and international best practice. 
Each year in Ireland around 300 women are diagnosed with ce...

36. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if his Department sought further information from the relevant whistleblower regarding health and safety reports which they allege were destroyed as part of a cover up within the Air Corps; and if not, the reason therefor. (Question 9078/18 asked on 22 Feb 2018 - Protected Disclosures)

Taoiseach and Minister for Defence (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I appointed an independent third party to review allegations made in a number of protected disclosures relating to health and safety issues in the Air Corps which were received in late 2015 and early 2016. 
No specific information has been sought from the correspondents in relation to reports which were the subject of an allegation of destruction contained in correspondence which was also sent to the Deputy.
I sent the report of the indep...

325. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if a person (details supplied) appointed to investigate protective disclosures into health and safety issues at Casement Aerodrome is empowered to compel witnesses to give evidence and make findings; when they are due to conclude their investigation; and if these findings will be made public. (Question 21007/17 asked on 03 May 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 325 and 326 together.
The position is that in September 2016, I appointed an independent third party to review allegations made in a number of protected disclosures relating to health and safety issues in the Air Corps which were received in late 2015 and early 2016. The terms of reference for the review were as follows – 
“The review shall encompass a review of all relevant documents held by ...

839. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason, when the HSA inspected Casement Aerodrome on 4 February, 5 April and 28 September 2016, authorities waited until 21 October 2016 before taking action to implement the HSA’s recommendation. (Question 9630/17 asked on 28 Feb 2017 - Protected Disclosures)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): As I outlined to the Deputy in my response to his parliamentary question on 15 February 2017, the military authorities have advised me that there was no delay in relation to the Air Corps’ response to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) Report.
As recognised in the HSA report of October, 2016, the Air Corps had already commenced activities of improvement and were proactive in implementing change before, during and after the en...

207. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will authorise an independent and comprehensive health assessment of the informants’ claims and of Defence Forces health and safety records in dealing with hazardous chemicals over the past 25 years. (Question 43187/17 asked on 11 Oct 2017 - Air Corps)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 to 210, inclusive, together. 
I have made it clear that the health and welfare of the men and women of the Defence Forces is a priority for me and therefore, I ensured that protected disclosures alleging exposure to chemical and toxic substances whilst working in the Air Corps in Baldonnel were investigated by an independent third party. I have furnished the report to those who made the pro...

445. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health the steps he has taken to support the girls who have been diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) as a result of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccines; and if he has been in touch with the European Medicines Agency in relation to the Gardasil drug. (Question 36167/15 asked on 20 Oct 2015 - Vaccine Damage Compensation Scheme)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 445 and 510 together.
The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). NIAC is a committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland comprising of experts in a number of specialties including infectious diseases, paediatrics and public health. The committee’s recommendations are informed by public health advice and international best practice. 
Imm...