Emergency services have dealt with a chemical incident in a housing estate in Ennis this evening.

A member of the public reported finding a 30-litre drum in a green area in the Lios Árd estate on the outskirts of the town. 

The woman, who had been out walking in the area at the time, noticed the black drum and approached it.

She is also understood to have gotten an odour from the drum and called the emergency services believing it to be potentially dangerous. The alarm was raised at around 6.00pm.

Units of Clare County Fire and Rescue Service from Ennis station responded along with local Gardaí to what was reported as a ‘hazmat’ (hazardous materials) incident. 

On arrival, fire crews quickly cordoned off a large section of the green until the drum could be inspected.

Fire service personnel wearing breathing apparatus approached the drum and noted the details on the label. The details were checked with experts in hazardous materials before any effort to move the drum was made. 

It was established that the drum contained Sodium Hypochlorite also known as bleach and is considered a ‘dangerous and corrosive’ substance.

Other personnel stood by with a water hose as a precaution and when fire crews were cleared to inspect the drum more closely, they found it was almost empty. 

The drum was placed in a larger protective container and safely removed from the scene.

It’s understood that arrangements will be made to dispose of the drum. It’s not known how long the drum was at the location or where it originated.