Saturday 25 May 2019

Provos dumping cancer-causing toxins into river

Shocking footage shows diesel flowing from plant; tests show water is 8,000 times over safe levels

Jim Cusack holds a sample of contaminated water taken from a stream near Castleblaney, County Monaghan.
Jim Cusack holds a sample of contaminated water taken from a stream near Castleblaney, County Monaghan.
Contaminated water in a stream near Castleblayney

Jim Cusack

REPUBLICAN fuel smugglers are pumping massively toxic waste linked to cancers and abnormalities in unborn babies straight into water supplies in the Republic.

The Sunday Independent has obtained evidence of carcinogenic waste flowing from an illegal fuel plant in south Armagh into Lough Muckno, Lough Ross and the Fane River - which is the main reservoir for the whole of Dundalk.

A sample of water taken by the Sunday Independent last week was shown to contain 8,000 times more chemical pollution than clean drinking water.

The sample, taken from directly behind the plant, one of dozens used by paramilitary smugglers in south Armagh, is also 400 times over the maximum chemical content of waste set by the European Union and Irish Water.

The toxic waste is being pumped directly into a stream that feeds directly into the River Fane drinking water system.

Around 40,000 people living in Dundalk - plus another 8,000 in the Provos' own heartland of Crossmaglen in south Armagh - are drinking water from the system that is being poisoned by the IRA fuel launderers.

Chemicals in the pollution almost certainly include polycyclic hydrocarbons that are linked to cancers and prenatal disorders.

Preliminary analysis has already shown that a chemical-oxygen demand (COD) in the sample taken is 8,000mg per litre. There should be near-zero COD in drinking water for humans.

The level of poison was so high that it was off the normal mid-range tests that are used for drinking water in Ireland.

The gang that runs the plant pumping out toxins into the drinking water system includes IRA men who were questioned by gardai in relation to the murder of Paul Quinn (21), an innocent man who was brutally beaten to death after a row with the gang leader in October 2007.

Environmental and customs sources accustomed to dealing with the toxic by-products of the Provos' fuel trade told the Sunday Independent that the most common dangerous compounds found in the diesel washing by-product are polycyclic aromatic hydrocabons (PAH).

Tests done on industrial pollutants containing PAHs by the Centre for Children's Environmental Health have found that exposure during pregnancy has produced heart malformations, premature delivery and low birth weight. Exposure has also been linked to cancers and developmental under-development among children.

Despite the known dangers, the Republican fuel launderers, controlled by the IRA - which also controls the supply of smuggled cigarettes into Ireland - are fully conscious of the threat to human and ecological environment in their own backyard.

The toxic trade has made millionaires out of the 200 to 300 main operators in south Armagh, who continue their trade even though they are possibly poisoning their own families.

Garda sources said last week the trade is controlled by three 'Mr Bigs' - one the 'OC' of the south Armagh IRA; the second a multi-millionaire who also claims to have been an IRA 'volunteer' but who security sources say was never known to have taken part in any attacks or served any time in prison. The third man is a notorious smuggler-turned-businessman with no IRA background, but who allied himself with the organisation years ago to provide his 'business' expertise to the former terrorists.

Locals, who did not want to be identified, said the toxic sludge that has gathered in silt at streams feeding into the Fane River and the two lakes is polluted with diesel and chemicals.

One told the Sunday Independent: "This stuff is so bad you can put a firelighter in it and it will burn away on its own. There are cubes (one-tonne commercial containers) being dumped all round here all the time. That's not as bad as letting the stuff run into the rivers. This is going into the lakes here that are used for pumping water to people from south Armagh to Dundalk," one said.

"They call themselves republicans and not a word is said against them. People are fearful. These are the same people that murdered Paul Quinn.

"There's no complaints from the Sinn Fein leadership. They're embarrassed by this now because of publicity. But this has been going on for years. When you think about it, there is this toxic poison running from Conor Murphy's constituency [Sinn Fein MP for Newry South Armagh] into Gerry Adams's constituency [Sinn Fein leader and TD for Louth]."

Another source added: "They're poisoning their own people and no one is prepared to speak out. People are afraid and they're letting these bastards poison the water they drink from Crossmaglen to Dundalk. They're poisoning their own people."

One local mother told the Sunday Independent: "It's not just the living people they're poisoning, it's the unborn. They are poisoning children and their children to come. They are causing birth defects and they don't give a damn. There is no secret about this and everyone here is afraid to speak out but these people know what they're doing. They're poisoning babies and their babies' babies."

Last November, the Northern Ireland Assembly heard that customs officials uncover an illicit fuel plant every 10 days in Northern Ireland, most of them in south Armagh where fuel laundering is the main 'industry'.

The Assembly heard the number of dismantled sites has trebled in the past decade with massive profits enriching local IRA bosses.

Garda and local sources have come to the conclusion that some form of back-room deal was struck during the peace process negotiations in the North to allow the IRA to move into full-time criminality and continue using south Armagh as its main fuel industry business so long as it gave up its bombs and guns.

No one has been jailed in Northern Ireland over fuel laundering - despite the massive health threat to the population and the environment - since 2002.

Last November, Lagan Valley Democratic Unionist MLA Paul Givan, told the Belfast Telegraph he believes the authorities are turning a blind eye to the issue for "political expediency". He said at the time: "People are asking, is this the price of keeping republicans bought off for the sake of the peace process?"

According to figures released by the North's Justice Minister David Ford, 203 fuel laundering plants have been raided in the past decade.

The Assembly heard that in the 12 months to April last year, 38 plants were dismantled, mostly in south Armagh - a three-fold increase on the 2003/04 total.

UK Revenue and Customs estimate fuel fraud is sucking up to STG£80m a year out of the North's economy.

The North's Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, described the Provos' polluting activities in south Armagh as an "environmental disaster".

He told the Sunday Independent: "Fuel laundering and the reckless dumping of the highly toxic waste products is totally irresponsible and very dangerous. It harms communities on a number of levels and shows a total disregard for the environment on which we all depend on for our quality of life and livelihoods."

Sunday Independent

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