'Rampant cancer cluster' fears spark inquiry call
Irish Independent - 26-08-03
HEALTH Minister Micheal
Martin was yesterday urged to carry out a new investigation
into claims of "rampant" cancer linked to industrial
The fears centre in west Limerick
after major flaws were revealed in The National Cancer
A new system of recording cancer cases is
to be introduced following revelations that Ireland lacks a
special coding system available elsewhere and concerns that
the figures are not accurate.
The NCR is to be updated in
coming months using a new "geodirectory" system which allows
more precise information on the level of cancer in specific
districts and comparisons to be made with neighbouring
The move follows intense concern in the
Foynes/Askeaton area of west Limerick over a
spate of new animal deaths from cancer and claims that more
than 70 people have contracted cancer in a small area as a
result of industrial pollution.
Cappagh Farm Action Group
yesterday hit out at the cancer data used in a €5m probe,
claiming it was four and a half years out of date and even
then did not include the large number of cancer cases in their
area up to 1999. The group said the number of cases has soared
over the past two and a half years.
However, the new system of
collecting cancer data will now be used in the Askeaton area
over the next year to determine the precise level of cases.
The Cappagh group said it now
wanted a meeting with the minister following the agreement to
bring in the new measuring system.
Spokesman Pat Geoghegan said:
"It is not good enough that people in our area and in the
country as a whole never made it on to the register since it
was set up 12 years ago."
The farmers are adamant that
industrial pollution in the Shannon Estuary is responsible for
a spate of cancer cases in animals and
"Hundreds of cattle and
horses died on a handful of farms in the Cappagh/Askeaton area
of Co Limerick in the 1990s, but the report failed to discover