The disregard for EU law and safety in Ħal Farruġ

Over the past months, I have exposed several cases where the government is disregarding EU standards and laws. Hal Farrug is not an exception. Sewage being discharged in the sea is just one other example

In the tranquil neighbourhood of Hal Farrug, nestled between two colossal tanks brimming with aviation fuel, residents find themselves caught in a tangle of broken promises with their safety compromised. Their concerns, borne out of legitimate fears for their security and well-being, have been met with bureaucratic indifference and broken pledges.

It is a story of a community forced to live on the edge, quite literally, as the looming threat of potential disaster hangs perilously close to their homes. This is no exaggeration. Some residents have had their request for an insurance policy refused.

At the heart of the issue lies the European Seveso Directive, a cornerstone of safety regulations designed to prevent and mitigate the impact of industrial accidents involving hazardous substances.

This directive, born out of the tragedy of the Seveso disaster in 1976, mandates that facilities with the potential for serious incidents maintain a safe distance of at least 500m from residential areas. Yet, in Hal Farrug, this crucial buffer zone has been reduced to a mere 110m, blatantly flouting the very regulations meant to safeguard the lives of citizens.

I received a call from the residents of Hal-Farrug and I responded to their summons. To start off, I reached out to Enemed and the Ministry for Energy several times to address this issue to no avail.

When confronted with this egregious violation, the response from authorities has been woefully inadequate. Despite assurances from local officials and promises of protective measures, including the installation of solar panels and financial compensation for residents, little has been done to address the genuine concerns of the local community. Instead, they are left to grapple with the constant spectre of danger.

Sometimes we are asked why people are losing trust in politicians. Well, the situation at Hal Farrug is a text book case of dishonesty which harms our society and leads to loss of trust.

The local community has been deceived by Labour politicians, including minister Silvio Schembri and disgraced minister Konrad Mizzi, Luqa mayor John Schembri, and even then, prime minister Joseph Muscat who visited several homes close to the plant.

This led them not to object to such infrastructure.

It is a travesty that in a country bound to respect EU laws, the rights and safety of its citizens can be so callously disregarded. The residents of Hal Farrug deserve better – they deserve to feel secure in their own homes. It is incumbent upon the authorities to uphold the principles enshrined in the Seveso Directive and take immediate action to rectify this egregious breach.

We must ensure that EU standards are translated into rights in practice for the Maltese and not remain on paper. If elected to the European Parliament, I will leverage my 20 years of experience to ensure that EU legislation is effectively implemented for the benefit and safety of Maltese citizens.

In the meantime, this situation can't wait. This is why I have personally taken up the mantle on behalf of the residents of Hal Farrug, advocating for their rights and demanding accountability from those responsible for ensuring their safety.

My efforts have included not only reaching out to relevant authorities, but now also submitting a formal complaint to the European Commission, and leveraging every available means to draw attention to this pressing issue. The safety and well-being of our citizens must always be paramount.

These residents do not expect the fuel tanks to be closed down, but at least for their rights to be respected and for the promises made to them to be adhered to without further delay.

They especially want the necessary protection measures, including the erection of shielding walls to protect them in case of accidents, financial compensation and guarantees by means of adequate insurance coverage of their homes, to be implemented.

Over the past months, I have exposed several cases where the government is disregarding EU standards and laws. Hal Farrug is not an exception. Sewage being discharged in the sea is just one other example.

On 8 June, we have the chance to either elect to the European Parliament Labour MEPs who want to cover up for their government or to send competent people to defend the rights of Maltese citizens.

I am committed to be your voice in Europe, to deliver concrete results to our families and to strengthen scrutiny on a government that has no clue on what is right and wrong.