The Deputy refers to information which I supplied in response to a parliamentary question on 15 May 2003. That same information was provided by me in answers to previous parliamentary questions in late 1999 and 2000.
The position is as I outlined on 15 May 2003. In 1999, safety, health and environmental consultants surveyedLE Deirdre, LE Emer, LE Aoife and LE Aisling and identified items with an asbestos content. A licensed contractor under the supervision of the Health and Safety Authority removed this material. Air clearance certificates indicating an asbestos-free atmosphere were then issued. I would like to assure the Deputy that this matter was given top priority at that time and the issue was resolved as speedily as possible and in line with health and safety requirements.
Ships' companies of the patrol vessels were advised of all known health risks relating to exposure to asbestos. In addition, all Naval Service personnel are screened for asbestos-related illness as part of their annual medical examination.