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Attempts to dismiss serving Air Corps whistleblower on medical grounds 'not a disciplinary procedure'

The man is one of a number of whistleblowers in the Air Corps.

Image: TheJournal.ie

JUNIOR MINISTER FOR Defence Paul Kehoe has said that attempts to dismiss a serving Air Corps whistleblower was not a disciplinary matter but was instead a way to ensure the long term health and safety of the member as well as the Defence Forces as a whole.

In the last 12 months, at least six former members of the Defence Forces have started legal proceedings against the State, alleging that they were exposed to toxic levels of chemicals and that a lack of protective equipment has left them with lifelong illnesses.

One of those whistleblowers was brought before St Bricin’s Military Hospital on Wednesday for a check-up. As things stand, he has not been dismissed on medical grounds.

Sinn Féín’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who has been following the case closely, said the man in question appeared before a medical hearing yesterday morning for the very reason he met the Minister of State – “that there was something rotten in the Air Corps in terms of health and safety, as he and other whistleblowers had outlined”.

Ó Snodaigh told the Dáíl: “His medical condition and others are directly related to mass exposure to highly toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.”

In the last year, TheJournal.ie has reported on a number of elements on this whistleblower case.

In a protected disclosure made by one of the workers earlier this year, it has also been alleged that the partners of male members of the force suffered serious fertility issues and a number of miscarriages. Other children, according to the protected disclosure, are living with life-changing illnesses and, in some cases, have died.

Responding to Ó Snodaigh, Kehoe said that medical checks are to ensure the safety of those in the force.

He said: “ Defence Forces regulation A12 provides the regulatory framework for medical treatment in the Defence Forces. These regulations provide for the convening of a medical board in specific circumstances. This can lead to a range of outcomes, including individuals being classed as below Defence Forces medical standards. It is important to note that this is not a disciplinary procedure and among other things it provides a mechanism for appropriately managing cases of long-term sick leave.”

The case of this whistleblower is to continue.

Some of our other coverage of this whistleblower case:

Read: Suicide, cancer and organ failure – today we list all the alleged victims of the Air Corps chemical scandal

Read: ‘In one case, a retired member’s wife had eight miscarriages in succession’

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

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

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