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Social Protection has spent almost €4,000 investigating office smells

2011 was particularly fragrant for the Department, conducting two ‘investigations of odour/smells’.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, who probably smells very nice.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, who probably smells very nice.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

SMELLS WERE A problem for the Department of Social Protection in 2011, new figures have revealed.

On two occasions in different locations the Department carried out an “investigation of odour/smells”, at a total cost of €3,722, disclosed in a parliamentary question.

At a Social Welfare Local Office in Belmullet, Co Mayo, “an examination of the building and the air quality” was conducted in April 2011.

However, the €1,699 Internal Management Report, compiled by Wright Environmental Services, found that “previous remedial work” has mostly rectified the problem.

“Resulting from the investigation, various recommendations were implemented, e.g.: continuous running of the ventilation system until the odours cleared,” the Department said in a statement.

Manhole covers

A more costly report of the same nature at an office in Cobh, Co Cork, which was prompted by complaints by both members of the public and staff, was rectified by measures including “sealing manhole covers”.

The total cost of this report by Employment Health Advisors Ltd came to €2,023.

Ventilation was improved and air handling units were upgraded.

Concerns over a link between cancer rates in Cobh and a toxic site at Haulbowline were raised the year previous to this investigation, leading to locals in the area to be very cautious with unfamiliar odours due to the strong smell associated with the site.

The Department of Social Protection did not confirm what the smells were, and the companies involved declined to comment on the nature of the smells.

Smells: 11 which are meant to be gross but which you actually love >

More smells: 8 that will remind you of primary school >

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Nicky Ryan

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