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Two men suing State over Air Corps chemical exposure say they have developed cancer

The men are two of six alleging that exposure to chemicals has made them seriously ill.

Image: 865389 airman Jamie Martin

TWO OF THE men who are trying to take cases against the Air Corps over claims they were exposed to dangerous chemicals at Baldonnel Airfield say they have developed cancer since starting the litigation.

The men, who have been attempting to have their case heard since 2013, are just two of six people who have cases which are currently at the ‘discovery’ phase.

One of the men was diagnosed with skin cancer last week. He says he has it in three places on his body – his head, arms and leg.

The other man says he was diagnosed with renal cancer in 2015. A tumour was discovered on his kidney after several visits to his doctor.

The men have maintained that their exposure to a number of chemicals at Baldonnel Airfield has led to them suffering from serious illnesses.

As reported by TheJournal.ie earlier this year, it has been claimed that long-term exposure to the substances led to cases of cancers, respiratory illnesses and mental health problems among members of the Defence Forces.

A new protected disclosure, also reported by this publication last week, alleged that a number of children of Air Corps staff have died as a result of being exposed to toxic chemicals.

In response to a query about the latest claims, the Department of Defence sent the following statement:

The State Claims Agency is currently managing six claims taken 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 these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

whistleblowers Source: TheJournal.ie

The former Air Corps staff members have asked, through the courts, for a list of all the chemicals they could have been exposed to over their careers which spanned the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.

A High Court judge had said that the claimants were entitled to the majority of the documentation. However, this has been appealed by the State. The appeal is due to be heard in June 2018.

The protected disclosure made last week was sent to 17 people, including ministers, TDs, senators and a senior member of the Defence Forces.

In it, a former Air Corps mechanic claims that: “I have come across several personnel whose wives have had multiple miscarriages both in serving and in retired personnel. In one case, a retired member’s wife had eight miscarriages in succession. I am also aware of three personnel who shared in an office in ‘photo section’ (area of Baldonnel’s engineering wing) whose wives all had a miscarriage in the same six-month timeframe.”

When asked last week to comment specifically on the allegations in relation to fertility matters, the Department of Defence sent a similar statement to the one issued yesterday:

“In September 2016, the Minister 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.

“Once a final review is to hand, the Minister will determine any further steps required and ensure that all recommendations, whether arising from the work of the Health and Safety Authority or the ongoing protected disclosure review, will be acted upon to ensure the safety of the men and women of the Air Corps. It would be inappropriate to comment in advance of the Minister receiving and considering the report.”

Want to contact this reporter anonymously and safely? Find all the details here.

Read: The other whistleblowers: Looking at the human cost of the Air Corps chemical scandal >

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