A 'substantial amount' of asbestos has been discovered at the site of the new Garda headquarters in Mulgannon, according to Deputy Mick Wallace, however local council members said only a small amount was involved and not enough to cause fear and furore in the local community.
People living near the site last week reported that an asbestos specialist's van was seen next to it as a man in a hi-viz picked over the site.
'The van wasn't there very long and no one in the community was approached about it,' said a local resident who asked not to be identified.
'Nobody would have any real issues as long as it's removed by a proper company which knows what it's doing,' said the resident.
On Monday, Deputy Mick Wallace said residents are being kept in the dark following the discovery of a 'substantial amount' of asbestos on the site 'in an as yet undetermined state, bordering hundreds of houses and a public laneway, and yet homeowners haven't been informed'.
After contacting the Office of Public Works, Mick Wallace's office was told that 'a substantial amount' of asbestos was found buried and scattered around the site.
The OPW was quoted as saying it will take around ten weeks to remove the asbestos, believed to be in the form of old slates.
The site was formerly home to the W.B. Nunn grain stores.
None of the grain stores remain. Two stores were demolished in recent years. A dangerous structures notice was placed on them by Wexford Borough Council and they were subsequently demolished.
'According to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform the site was cleared of the remains of buildings and general site debris in recent years, which makes you wonder how a substantial amount of asbestos has been uncovered there now, how long it has been lying there, and in what state,' Wallace said.
Asked about how much asbestos had been found, a spokesperson for the OPW told this newspaper: 'I confirm that asbestos has been found at the site in Wexford. The OPW will undertake to remove the asbestos at the site as soon as possible.'
Former mayor Cllr George Lawlor, one of the councillors who pushed for the barracks to be built in Mulgannon, said that according to surveys of the site only 'a quarter of a cubic metre was present there was 'not enough to create fear or furore.'
'Mick Wallace's statement is inaccurate and the asbestos is the bonded type used in replacement tiles. Wexford gardai are working in squalid conditions and it's sad that Mick Wallace's only contribution to the new barracks is in screaming sound bites,' said Cllr Lawlor, insisting that local people had nothing to worry about.