Emergency services have dealt with a chemical incident close to a popular beach in Co Clare this afternoon.
Clare County Fire and Rescue Service and Gardaí were alerted at around 1.30pm today following a report that a drum had washed onto rocks at White Strand near Miltown Malbay.
Units of the fire service from Ennistymon and Kilrush stations responded to the incident.
On arrival, fire crews carried out an assessment of the scene and confirmed that a 40-gallon container had washed onto the rocks about 300 metres from the beach and close to a popular walking path.
Firefighters wearing specialist chemical suits for dealing with hazardous materials used a ladder to reach the scene. The incident was located in a small cove at the base of a 15m cliff. Fire crews confirmed that the plastic barrel had split and its contents had spilled onto the rocks.
As a precaution, fire service personnel set up a cordon around the scene and directed Sunday walkers away from the cliff path in case there could be dangerous fumes in the air.
In the meantime, fire officers assessed the situation and established that the unknown chemical had spilled from the damaged drum and was no longer a danger to the public. It’s likely that the drum burst after being smashed off the rocks by rough seas probably overnight.
Once senior officers were satisfied there was no threat from the spilt chemical, which is thought to have been diluted by the tide, the scene was declared safe and the path was reopened to walkers.
It’s understood that the container was reported to have washed ashore during the past week and that Clare County Council and the Irish Coast Guard were informed. It’s thought the drum may have fallen overboard from a passing ship in recent weeks.