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Specalist asbestos removal company workers at one of the asbestos waste dumps in Kilkee last year. Photograph by John Kelly

West Clare asbestos removal is set to cost ‘in the millions’


ASBESTOS removal works, to be carried out by Clare County Council at sites in West Clare, have been described as “significant” and “in the millions”, in terms of the cost.
Council CEO Pat Dowling disclosed that information at the monthly local authority meeting, where he also gave a public assurance that there is no immediate risk at any site.
The CEO’s remarks followed a question, on the likely costs from West Clare Councillor Cillian Murphy.
The Kilkee-based member noted that the council’s monthly management report referred to the assessment of tenders for remediation of sites with Asbestos Containing Material (ACM).
“This is an issue we continually report on,” Mr Dowling said. “The cost will be significant, in the millions.
“Right now, I want to reassure the public that there is no immediate danger to public health. The sites are maintained in a safe condition.”
Senior Engineer Seán Lenihan said tenders are currently being assessed for consultants who will oversee and sign off on the remediation works.
“The tenders are being looked at and that process will determine how quickly we move forward,” he said.
According to the council’s November/December management report, the deadline for receipt of tenders for “multidisciplinary consultancy services” for “remediation of Asbestos Containing materials in West Clare”, was December 7.
“In the interim, the sites, having been rendered safe following the carrying out of temporary works in consultation with the EPA, continue to be routinely monitored by Council staff,” the report states.
The tender invitation circulated in November outlined that “seven sites in the Kilrush and Kilkee areas had been identified as containing asbestos containing materials (ACMs) and asbestos cement pipes”.
“The ACMs were primarily deposited on the surface at the sites, although at a number of the sites, partially buried pieces were identified,” the tender invitation said.
“It is now required to remediate the sites by removing contaminated deposits for contained offsite disposal. This would be followed by restoration of topographical landforms/minor landscaping works as appropriate.”
In 2014, the council commissioned a major investigation after the discovery of potentially hazardous asbestos material deposited at nine sites, six in Kilkee and three in Kilrush.
The council has been working since with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to address the issue.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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