Dublin TD says ESB have questions to answer over massive oil leaks

by Padraig Conlon

Fianna Fáil Dublin Spokesperson John Lahart says ESB must answer questions raised in the RTÉ Investigates Programme which revealed up to one million litres of oil has leaked from ESB underground cables over the past 20 years.

The shocking revelation came after Seamus O’Loughlin, a whistleblower within the ESB, made a number of Protected Disclosures to the Department of the Environment (DCCAE) who are still analysing the case.

RTÉ Investigates revealed that the leaks were primarily in the Dublin area, including along cable lines close to both the Grand and Royal Canals.

According to the data 1,200 kilos of a gas with a global warming potential 23,000 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2) leaked from Moneypoint Power Station between 2016 and 2017.

“As a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action I am glad that our Party Spokesperson on the Environment, Timmy Dooley, has written to the Chairperson of the Committee, Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, to request that the ESB be invited to attend the Committee and address the health and safety and environmental issues which were raised in the programme,” Dublin South West TD Lahart said.

Mr O’Loughlin, who worked for ESB for 25 years, also claims there were seven leaks at Moneypoint power station in recent years.

Deputy Lahart said the environmental impact of the leaks must be assessed.

“There are key questions which must be answered and were it not for the protected disclosure made by Mr. O’Loughlin, we might never know the scale of the problem,” he said.

“As Dublin Spokesperson it’s particularly worrying that the leaks occurred mainly in the Dublin area, including along cable lines close to the Grand and Royal Canals.

“While the ESB has said that the leaked fluid is readily biodegradable, I would have grave concerns about the quantity and sustained length of time which the leaking occurred.

“In fact, the ESB’s own internal documents state that the leaks from these cables could present a “very high environmental impact, given the proximity to the Grand Canal.

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched an investigation into the matter and I would be eager that their report be published and made public as soon as it has been completed”, he concluded.

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