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EPA – “Water Quality Going In Wrong Direction.”

It will come as no surprise to Tipperary environmentalists that the EPA has found that water quality of Irish waters has deteriorated between 2015 and 2017.

The EPA, on November 30th 2018 last, released details of the Water Quality for 2017: “An Indicators Report for Ireland”.  The 16 indicators in the report provide information on the quality of Ireland’s rivers, lakes, canals, estuaries, coastal waters, beaches and ground-waters. The report showed a net overall decline of 3% (72 water bodies) in the water quality in Irish rivers between 2015 and 2017. Some 197 river water bodies have improved in quality, but 269 water bodies have deteriorated; compared with the last full assessment in 2013-2015.

The long-term loss of high-quality river sites is continuing with a further 0.6% decline since 2015.
Most pollution is caused by too much nitrogen and phosphorus entering our waters. Despite a long-term reduction, recent data clearly indicates that levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are beginning to rise again and unless addressed, this is likely to lead to a further decline in water quality into the future.

Significant pressures:
Activities, such as waste-water discharges, industrial discharges or agriculture, that are identified as being significant contributors to surface water or groundwater bodies failing to meet their Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives. Nutrient losses from agriculture and waste-water discharges from towns and businesses together with physical habitat issues are the primary reasons why the water quality objectives of the Water Framework Directive are not being met. In relation to agriculture, the pressures relate to diffuse nutrient run-off, sediment from land and point sources associated with farmyards. For waste-water, the main pressure is from urban waste-water discharges (See Video hereunder) and diffuse urban discharges, (which include faulty connections leading to sewage effluent being discharged to surface water drainage systems).

Local Authorities Waters Programme: The Local Authorities Waters Programme is a local authority shared service managed by Kilkenny and Tipperary County Councils, on behalf of all local authorities.

It has recently commenced local assessments of the causes of water quality issues within the 190 areas set out in the River Basin Management Programme via the work of its catchment assessment team. Same coordinate with the water quality work of Local Authorities through agreed regional structures, thereby providing a collaborative approach to river catchment management. It also seeks to engage local communities and promote public participation in the management of our water environment via the work of a team of water community officers.

Positive Changes:
Serious pollution continues to decrease. Only two river water bodies were seriously polluted in the latest reporting period compared to five in 2013-2015.  Historically there were 91 seriously polluted water bodies in the late 1980s.

Fish kills were at an all-time low with only 14 reported in 2017 compared to 31 in 2016.

Commenting on the report, Dr Matt Crowe, Director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment stated:  “Clean, healthy water is essential to our health and wellbeing. The signals in this report are not good and tell us that water quality is still getting worse in some areas despite improvements in others. This is simply unacceptable. We must do more to halt deterioration in water quality so that we protect this most precious public resource.
“Substantial additional resources have recently been put in place by the State with the creation of the Local Authority Waters Programme and the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme. These programmes will support action at local level to address the issues causing water pollution. We now need to start seeing visible improvements in water quality through the work of these new programmes. The EPA will continue to play its part in this by providing the science and evidence to support action on the ground and will also continue to report regularly on progress.”

Addressing the main findings of the assessment, Andy Fanning, Programme Manager, EPA Office of Evidence and Assessment stated:  “The report highlights that the loss of our best quality waters is continuing. It is also clear that there is a general decline in river water quality. Worryingly, this report also shows a rise in nutrient inputs to our seas from our rivers.
“Most pollution is caused by too much nitrogen and phosphorus entering waters. These excess nutrients come from human activities, predominantly our farms and urban areas. The increases are an early warning that we need to address the sources and the pathways by which these nutrients make their way into our rivers and lakes. The success in addressing serious pollution and the reduction in fish kills shows that we can make positive changes when we put our minds to it.”

It is now intended to publish annual indicators reports that will complement and support the EPA’s Water Quality in Ireland reports, produced every three years.


Irish Air Quality Facing Pollution Challenges

Irish air quality facing pollution challenges from solid fuel burning and transport emissions.

The number of monitoring stations providing real-time air quality information to the public via the EPA website will have more than doubled in 2018 (from 19 in 2017 to 45).

Air quality monitoring results in 2017 showed that the burning of solid fuel and emissions from transport, both remain the main threats to good air quality in Ireland.

An estimated 1,150 premature deaths in Ireland are identified as being directly attributable to poor air quality, according to the European Environment Agency. This is mainly due to fine particulate matter levels from solid fuel burning.

We all have a role in play in improving the quality of the air we breathe. Our home heating and transport choices directly influence the level of pollution in the air around us. This pollution affects people’s health and their life expectancy.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Air Quality report, released just yesterday, shows that while Ireland’s air quality did not exceed legal limit values in 2017,  air quality in Ireland is impacting negatively on people’s health. Levels of particulate matter (dust) in our air is of a growing concern. Levels are particularly high during the winter months when the use of solid fuels such as coal, peat and wood, impact on air quality and on health, especially in small towns and villages.

In urban areas, transport related emissions of nitrogen dioxide are close to set down EU limit. The report also shows that Ireland is above the health-related and tighter World Health Organization and European Environment Agency guideline values.

In launching the report, “Air Quality in Ireland 2017 – Key Indicators of Ambient Air Quality”, Director General of the EPA Laura Burke stated: “We all expect that the air we breathe is clean but we cannot take this for granted. It is now time to tackle the two key issues impacting negatively on air quality in Ireland – transport emissions in large urban areas and emissions from solid fuel burning across the country.
While Ireland met all legal standards for air quality in 2017 at EPA monitoring stations, the levels of air pollution caused by burning solid fuel – including “back yard burning” – and by transport at some locations were above the World Health Organization air quality guidelines. The choices we all make as individuals affect the levels of pollution in the air we breathe which have an impact on people’s health and life expectancy”

Speaking at a National Air Event in Kilkenny last week, organised by the EPA, Francois Wakenhut from the European Commission’s Clean Air Unit clearly outlined the health impacts of air pollution in Ireland. He cited the European Environment Agency estimate of premature deaths occurring in Ireland each year due to fine particulate matter.

Mr Wakenhut stated: “There is an increasing awareness of the urgencies of air quality; people demand from government that we do more to deliver clean air. The European Environment Agency have estimated 1,150 premature deaths in Ireland are directly attributable to poor air quality, that is too many for Ireland and demands action”.

According to Patrick Kenny, (EPA Air Quality Manager): “The choices that each of us makes about how we heat our homes, dispose of our waste and travel to work and school can directly impact on our local air quality. Providing more localised, real-time air quality information will help people to be better informed when making these choices and will provide a better picture of what is impacting on our air quality. The National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme, managed by the EPA, is on track to deliver 16 new monitoring stations and upgrade 10 existing monitoring stations to real-time monitoring by the end of 2018.”

The Air Quality in Ireland 2017 – Key Indicators of Ambient Air Quality report is available on the EPA website. An infographic is also available: Heating your home and its impact on air quality and health – Infographic of  of home heating choices and impact on air quality and health.
The EPA continually monitors air quality across Ireland and provides the air quality index for health and real-time results on their website HERE.  Results are updated hourly on the website, and you can log on at any time to check whether the current air quality in your locality is good, fair or poor.


Lowry – “€4.2 Million Funding Sanctioned For Co. Tipperary”

Tipperary Independent TD, Deputy Michael Lowry is pleased to confirm the following allocation of funding for Co. Tipperary under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.

Following his continued representation on behalf of Tipperary’s ‘Category A Projects’, to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Mr Eoin Murphy;  €2.89 million has now been awarded for the development of the Kickham Barrack Sports Hub in Clonmel and a further €1.35 million has been allocated for the Thurles, Liberty Square Regeneration Project.

This funding is allocated through Project Ireland 2040.

As readers will be aware, earlier this year ‘Project Ireland 2040’ established four new funds, all with a combined allocation of €4 billion, up to 2027.

The Urban Regeneration and Development fund (URDF) has an overall allocation of €2 billion up to 2027, with the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government having the responsibility for the implementation of this same URDF funding.

This fund is the largest urban regeneration initiative taken in Ireland for decades and was established to support more compact and sustainable development, through the regeneration and rejuvenation of Ireland’s cities and large towns, in line with the objectives of Project Ireland 2040.

This will enable a greater proportion of residential and mixed-use development to be delivered within the existing built-up footprints of our cities and towns and it will ensure that more parts of our urban areas can once again become attractive and vibrant places in which people can choose to live and work, as well as to invest.

There are two categories of submission, Category A – for projects that are ready to go and Category B to support the initial development of projects (Master-planning / Feasibility) to ensure a pipeline of possible projects into the future.


Cahir, Co. Tipp, Exhibits True Meaning Of Christmas

“To give up one’s very self; to think only of others and to learn how to bring the greatest happiness to others, yes here is the true meaning of Christmas.”


The town of Cahir, on the River Suir, in Co. Tipperary.

The town of Cahir here in Co Tipperary, boasts that one-in-three of its local residents are non-Irish born. With this in mind the townsfolk intend to use the upcoming Christmas festival as a way of celebrating their multiculturalism.

According to the 2016 Census, Cahir embraces Ireland’s eighth highest percentage of non-Irish born resident, latter drawn from some 40 countries, e.g. Poland, Germany and Lithuania; and from Africa to Brazil.

With the support of the not-for-profit charity “Together Ireland”, this new “Cahir Reaches Out” concept will host a special event for over 1,000 non-Irish born people, on December 8th next, in an effort to welcome and celebrate all the cultural contributions now being created in our modern Ireland.

The main event taking place will include:- (A) – A world bake off, celebrating culinary arts from all different countries; (B) – An international 5km Santa Run; (C) – Street music performances including carol singing in different languages, e.g. English, Irish, Spanish, Polish and Lithuanian  and finally (D) – A special parade of flags through Cahir’s main thoroughfare – all intended to further underline and demonstrate just how proudly cosmopolitan this small Tipperary town has actually become in recent years.

All of these events will take place before a formal switching on of Cahir Town’s Christmas lights; latter which yesterday saw a workforce busily beginning to erect.

Yes, here surely is the true meaning of Christmas at work.


Duilleoga Deasa, Deasa – Thurles, Co. Tipperary

“Duilleoga deasa, deasa, duilleoga deasa, buí.
Duilleoga deasa, deasa, ar thalamh ina luí”.

[Irish language Translation:- “Nice, nice leaves, nice yellow leaves.  Nice, nice leaves on the ground, lying”.]

The town of Thurles is always extremely colourful at this time of year, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Here in the town, despite recent strong winds, the thickly matted autumn leaves, generated during last spring, are now only beginning to loosen their grip, to flutter down to earth. This same action now allows the numerous bright beams of yellow sunshine to penetrate through to the pavements and the rural mossy previous shaded grassy floors.

Here, in the coldish 12°C sunlight being experienced in Thurles in Co. Tipperary presently, a myriad of these Autumn leaves, today lie mainly underfoot, thus forming a rich carpet of yellows, golds, reds and browns. Some can be also observed performing their final dance, encouraged by a light south westerly breeze, before eventually loosing themselves in that river of earlier leaves that have fallen in love with the surface of the ground.

For all mankind, autumn is seen as that period for storing up our annual harvest, but for Mother Nature, it is that time for also undertaking the setting of seed, thus ensuring that after a brief sleep, next year’s plants are replenished.