Plan is needed after chemical spill chaos in Little Island

Plan is needed after chemical spill chaos in Little Island
Little Island, Cork. Picture: Denis Scannell

COUNCILLORS have asked to see an emergency plan for Little Island after a chemical spill caused chaos last week and closed off routes into and out of the area.

The incident occurred at the Eastgate roundabout when a heavy goods vehicle shed its load comprising of containers of hazardous chemicals containing 200 litres of organic peroxide type-f liquid, peracetic acid at evening rush hour on December 13.

Cobh, Midleton and Cork fire services attended the incident and a specialist chemical response specialist was also brought in to help with the clean-up.

Entry to Little Island from Glounthaune and Midleton was blocked due to the location of the accident.

A number of roads were required to be closed and diversions put in place so a clean-up could be undertaken.

Councillor Padraig O’Sullivan (FF) said he’d like to see Cork County Council’s emergency plan for the island should a major incident take place and said a traffic management plan needs to be put in place before any more development or multinational investment congests the area any further.

 “About two years ago, I asked for the detailed emergency plan for Little Island. I got a one-page assessment to say that there is an emergency plan in place and that it would be implemented in the event of an emergency, but I’ve never seen the detailed plan,” he said.

“I drove by the incident at 5pm on the day of the chemical spill and here was still traffic leaving the island at 9pm that night.

“Eli Lilly, a massive multinational company, has announced 500 jobs for Little Island and that’s great news but with the ongoing issue we have down there, specifically in relation to traffic, it’s just crazy that developments like that could go ahead without any further allowances for traffic and related issues.

“My phone was hopping for two or three days after the [the spill] and I had business owners tell me they were going to refuse pay their rates unless something is done. Local residents couldn’t even get to the shop as they were trapped in their homes. Enough is enough,” he added.

Deputy county chief executive Declan Daly said the incident was not a major emergency. “There is an emergency plan in place and its primary function is to direct the three principal response agencies when a major emergency occurs,” he said.

“We’re all aware that there are traffic issues in Little Island. Little Island and Ringaskiddy have been major employment locations for Cork County Council and we do need to respond to issues,” he added.

Councillor O’Sullivan also raised the issue that no public bus service currently serves the island and 87% of people travel by car into the area.

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