A COUNTY Limerick farming family were joined by seven TDs from different political groups at a protest outside the Dáil calling for a new public inquiry into the environmental and health impacts of the Aughinish Alumina plant in Askeaton.
The Geoghegan family were part of the protest last week. They have long claimed that their farm and livestock have been hit by an unidentified environmental agent which is causing sickness and birth defects is animals.
The protest was attended by Paul Murphy TD (PBP), Catherine Connolly (Ind), Matt Carthy (SF), Mattie McGrath (Ind), Ivana Bacik (Lab), Willie O’Dea (FF) and Peadar Tobin (Aountu)
with support from Catherine Murphy (SD) who could not attend.
Earlier in the day the issue was also raised with the Taoiseach by Paul Murphy TD, Matt Carthy TD and Mattie McGrath TD.
In his speech, Paul Murphy brought to light what he describes as new evidence, which he claims further discredits the previous investigation into serious animal and human health problems near the factory.
The Geoghegans have regularly pointed to 18 medical samples taken during that investigation that went missing. Deputy Murphy has now also brought to light a previously unpublished letter by the IDA and notes of a private meeting they had with Aughinish.
In the Dáil, Deputy Murphy said: “These notes clearly show that the IDA, with absolutely no environmental expertise, not only took Aughinish’s side, but then sought to influence the outcome of the health investigation. They talk about the importance of the jobs involved, and restate that they have been assured by the company that there is nothing to see there.
“I also have a letter showing that these notes were circulated to those conducting the investigation into the health problems in the Askeaton area, despite the fact that there is absolutely no environmental or scientific information in it.”
He said it is “clearly an attempt to use the economic arguments to influence the health investigation and tip the scales in Aughinish’s favour, biasing the whole thing.”