Merck, Sharp & Dohme - Fear in the valley

  • 1 October 1983
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THE IDA HAS WELCOMED the decision by Merck, Sharp & Dohme to establish its new £1.5 million developmental laboratory alongside its £35 million manufacturing facility in Ballydine near Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
Speaking at the launch of the project, Mr John Gorman, Manager of IDA's Pharmaaceuticals and Healthcare Diviision said that the establishhment of the process developpment laboratory at the Clonnmel plant was in line with IDA's policy of encouraging companies to broaden their operating bases in Ireland beyond pure manufacturing.

Mr Gorman added that the health care / pharmaceuticals sector continued to be a key growth area for the IDA. The sector, he said, now compriises 1"10 firms employing allmost 14,000 people. It had exports of £800 million in 1982, or 20% of manufaccturing exports. This represents a major growth since 1970 when employment was 9,500 and exports were valued at £26 million. Ireland now ranks as the tenth largest exporter of pharmaceutical products in the world.

Although there have been complaints in the area about the factory and several farmers have claimed that the factory has damaged their livestock, no monitoring of the factory is being done. This is on the recommendation of Mark Lynch of the Department of Agriculture who said that no monitoring should be done until one farmer, John Han- I

rahan, releases information on the deaths in mysterious circumstances of cattle on his farm, information which he has privately commissioned.

The Department of Agriiculture then asked for access to John Hanrahan's land which he refused on the basis that he had given them access in 1981 and they had not conducted suitable tests. The Government gave this as the reason why it could not conntinue to investigate the probblem in the area even though it was established in the June issue of Magill that the probblems were on other farms as well.

At the beginning of July John Hanrahan decided to grant the Department access to his farm. However, it took the Department two months to respond to him. Joint tests were carried out on Thursday September 15 by a team employed by John Hanrahan and a team from the Department, which incluuded Mark Lynch. Eight animals were shot, some from Hanrahan's farm and some from other farms in the area and tests will be carried out on these.

There are still no monitors in the area.

It is believed that An Foras Forbartha has recently warned South Tipperary County Council that the situaation in Ballydine is extremely dangerous. The County Counncil has not responded.