Asbestos claims the life of bus maintenance work

A coachbuilder who worked for Ireland’s transport authority, CIÉ, during the 1970’s died at the age of 67 after developing an aggressive form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure.

Noel Sweeney’s remains were examined by Coroner Dr. Brian Farrell, who concluded that Mr. Sweeney had acquired his terminal illness through occupational exposure of asbestos while working for CIE. The father of two from Dublin, died on April 5th, 2014, working right up until the age of retirement in 2011.

Mr. Sweeney was responsible for working on, and building coaches in the 1970s until CIE made the change to importing ready built coaches from Britain. During the 1960s and 70s, Britain was one of the world’s leading users of asbestos-based products. Today the UK and Ireland has some of the highest mortality rates from asbestos exposure with 2000 people dying every year.

Noel’s wife told the Dublin coroner’s court of how he had come to be exposed to asbestos. “The protection built around those engines was made of asbestos. Before they could fix the engine, they had to remove the cover and break the asbestos.”

She went on to say that her husband was never made aware of the dangers of asbestos and furthermore safety precautions were practically non-existent with the company. “Each time the cover was taken off, the asbestos would have been air hosed and the employees didn’t even wear masks back then. They used overalls. My husband would wear one too.

5 years before Mr. Sweeney’s death his wife came to notice a number of deteriorations in his health, finally he was admitted into hospital of June 2012. Tests showed that tumors had spread throughout 90% of his body. A final verdict was released stating that Mr. Sweeney developed this Illness from occupational-related disease while working for CIE.