The Government has signed off on a €40 million package to begin clean-up of the toxic waste site on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour, the Cork Independent reports.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the site at the former Irish Steel/Ispat plant - which closed a decade ago - contains an estimated 500,000 tonnes of waste, including toxic heavy metals and cancer causing materials, and has been blamed for the area's notoriety in having one of the highest cancer rates in Ireland.
The move comes after an ultimatum from the European Commission earlier this year to act on cleanup of the island.
Mary O'Leary, chair of the Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment (CHASE) lobby group, is cautiously optimistic about the Caninet's move on the issue, but said "the proof of the pudding is in the eating".
She told the Cork Independent: “Obviously we welcome the announcement, we have been fighting for 15 years for this. It is a guarded optimism because we were promised something in 2008. We didn’t see anything then so we will see what happens here."
O'Leary has been invited to join the steering committee that will oversee the cleanup.
“It is in all our interests that a solution is found for the former Ispat site," said Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney, "and I am determined to ensure that there are no further delays in finding a solution."
The Cork Independent has more on the story HERE.