Page last updated at 20:11 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 21:11 UK

Fears over toxic waste claims

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The plant contained the highly toxic chemical Chromium six

An Irish government department has been accused of a cover-up after claims that dangerous waste was discovered at the site of a former steel plant in Cork.

A contractor at the Haulbowline site claims to have uncovered a toxin, Chromium six, which causes cancer.

The chemical was the subject of the screen story of American campaigner Erin Brockovich.

Attempts in the Dail to question Environment Minister John Gormley about the site were ruled out of order.


The waste came from the former Irish Ispat steel plant at the site which closed in 2001 after 60 years of production.

The area is now claimed to contain one of the most dangerous chemical dumps in Ireland.

Mr Gormley denied allegations of a cover-up and said he has been assured by his department that people would not be exposed to any health risk because of the estimated 500,000 tonnes of waste.

He said he intended to outline plans later this year for dealing with the waste.

The Irish Department of Environment has been attempting to compile an inventory of the dump's contents.

The department took over responsibility for the site in 2003

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