Northern Ireland news

Asbestos found at Co Tyrone bonfire site

An example of asbestiform riebeckite ore, also known as crocidolite (or "blue asbestos"), one of six mineral types currently regulated as asbestos
Connla Young

ASBESTOS has been removed from a loyalist bonfire site in Co Tyrone.

A "significant amount" of the hazardous material was discovered in the Monrush area of Cookstown earlier this month.

Although now outlawed, asbestos can still be found in many buildings constructed before 2000.

Blamed for thousands of deaths in Britain and Northern Ireland ever year, regulations insist it must be removed and disposed of under strict supervision.

The discovery comes just over a year after asbestos was removed from a bonfire site in nearby Dungannon.

UUP councillor Trevor Wilson last night slammed those who left the dangerous substance in Cookstown, which was discovered by residents.

He claimed the material remained on site for almost a week before being removed by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

“The bottom line is it was putting people's safety at risk, especially the young people who were building the bonfire," he said.

“They tried to keep the place as tidy as possible and someone totally irresponsible came in and dumped this.”

PSNI Superintendent Mike Baird said: "Following concerns raised by local residents, police, along with Mid Ulster District Council and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, identified a significant amount of asbestos waste that had been dumped near to the bonfire site at Monrush.

"Safety for everyone is paramount.

“While the physical removal of bonfire material is not a matter for police, we will assist other lead statutory partners if called upon to do so."

Mid Ulster District Council and NIEA could not be contacted for comment.

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