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Note: New Legislation On Radon In Workplaces

New radiation protection legislation now requires all employers, in high radon areas, to test their workplace for the radioactive gas ‘Radon‘. Where levels are above the national reference level of 300 Becquerel per metre cubed, employers are then required to carry out work to ensure the reduction of these levels.

The above Radon Map (Click Here To View In More Detail) has five categories: less than 1%, 1 to 5%, 5 to 10%, 10 to 20% and greater than 20%. If you live in an area designated as ‘greater than 20%’, this means that more than 20% (1 in 5) homes in that grid square are likely to have radon concentrations above the Reference Level.

At today’s National Radon Forum, attendees heard from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) about the requirements of this new legislation.

Details on protocol for measurement of Radon in homes & workplaces can be downloaded HERE

Speaking at today’s National Radon Forum Ms Laura Burke, (EPA Director General), said: “In Ireland, up to 300 cases of lung cancer each year are linked to Radon, which is a serious public health hazard. Employers now have responsibility to ensure that their employees are protected from exposure to this radioactive gas. Radon testing in workplaces is simple and inexpensive and, where necessary, reducing high radon levels in a building is also straightforward. The EPA and the HSA are working in partnership to support employers in implementing this legislation.”

Yvonne Mullooly, (Assistant Chief Executive, from the Health & Safety Authority) welcomed the new legislation stating: “In addition to the existing general duties on employers to address radioactive hazards, this new legislation provides employers with clear testing requirements for radon gas in their workplaces. The Authority looks forward to continued collaboration with the EPA in highlighting radon gas exposure in workplaces and supporting the ongoing work of the National Radon Control Strategy Co-ordination Group. Our inspectors will continue to raise awareness during their inspections of the potential for radon gas exposures and the need for appropriate risk assessments. We will continue to support employers by providing information and through our on-line risk assessment tool BeSMART www.BeSMART.ie, which includes radon as a hazard.”

Phase two of the National Radon Control Strategy is also being launched today at the 15th National Radon Forum in Dublin. Attendees will hear about the Government’s Strategy to tackle radon over the next 5 years and the research that is needed to support this work.

The EPA radon team are available to answer your queries at Email: radon@epa.ie or Tel: 1800 300 600.


Ireland’s air pollutant emissions – Wrong Pathway For Cleaner Air

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on 2017 emission levels for the five main air pollutants.

These figures show that ammonia emissions increased by 2% cent in 2017. The trend in increasing ammonia emissions is projected to continue out to 2030.
Emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds also increased. Ireland is projected to exceed the 2030 emission ceiling for this pollutant.
While emissions of nitrogen oxides decreased in 2017, emissions are projected to be non-compliant with national limits in 2030.
Emissions of two other air pollutants; sulphur dioxide and particulate matter, decreased in 2017. These pollutants are projected to remain compliant with national limits, provided planned measures are implemented.

The EPA today published figures for emissions of five key air pollutants. These pollutants impact environment and health contributing to respiratory problems and pollution of soil, surface water and vegetation. These pollutants are: ammonia, non-methane volatile organic compounds, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

This latest information from the EPA shows that ammonia emissions increased by 2% in 2017, which followed a 5% increase in 2016. Agriculture dominates emissions of ammonia, which arise from the decomposition of animal manures and the application of fertiliser. This trend in increasing emissions is projected to continue out to 2030.

In addition, emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds showed an increase in 2017. These pollutants arise from the food and beverage industry and the storage and handling of animal manures and synthetic fertilisers. Non-methane volatile organic compound emissions are projected to increase slightly to 2030 as the gains from switching to less polluting sources are outweighed by increased economic activity and population growth. Ireland is therefore projected to exceed the more challenging 2030 non-methane volatile organic compounds emission ceiling, despite being in compliance for 2020.

Dr Eimear Cotter, (Director of Office of Environmental Sustainability) said: “Our figures show that ammonia levels are on an upward trend, in tandem with increased agricultural production, and that they breached national limits in 2016 and 2017. This has implications for air and water quality.The National Air Pollution and Control Programme, currently out for public consultation, will need to address these emissions particularly as they are projected to increase further to 2030. The underlying driver for these emissions is the application of more animal manure to soils — mostly as an organic fertiliser — and the increase in the use of inorganic fertilisers. Options to increase efficiencies and reduce fertiliser use will need to be implemented at farm level.”

Emissions of other air pollutants – sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter – decreased in 2017. This reflects a general downward trend in emissions since 1990 reflecting the impact of fuel switching from coal and peat to natural gas, penetration of renewables and technology improvements. Looking to the future, however, while sulphur dioxide and particulate emissions are projected to remain compliant with substantially lower national limits in 2030, provided planned measures are implemented, this is not envisaged to be the case for nitrogen oxide emissions. Nitrogen oxide emissions are projected to be non-compliant with national limits in 2030, with the transport sector projected to continue to be a key source of emissions.

Stephen Treacy, (EPA Senior Manager) said: “We have seen the positive impact of a range of policy measures and regulatory interventions since 1990 which are particularly evident in declining sulphur dioxide and particulate emissions. Fuel switching and the move to more renewables has brought dividends in terms of cleaner air, with effective regulatory intervention from the EPA also playing a role. It is important that this good work is not reversed in the context of a growing economy. Further measures are needed to meet national limits in the period from now to 2030, particularly for the pollutants ammonia, nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds”.

For further detail on these figures, see the EPA web published report “Ireland’s Air Pollutant Emissions 1990-2030” available HERE


Thoughts For All Day Sunday

What do we tell the children?

What do we tell the children? – Lyrics by Ivan Drever

Which way will the branch bend
When there’s no wind left to blow?
Which way will the river run
When there’s no where left to go?

What do we tell the children
When they start to ask us why?
And where are the keepers
Who bled the whole thing dry?

What kind of air are we to breath
When there’s none to take in?
What kind of soil do we turn over
When the fallout’s been?

When do you think they’ll tell us?
Don’t they know that we know too?
When do you think they’ll listen
To the likes of me and you?

And what kind of rain will fall
On the land that’s dead and gone?
And what kind of flowers
Will look up for the sun?

What colour will the leaves be?
A darker shade of brown.
Is this the kind of legacy
To leave to the unborn?

Which way will the branch bend
When there’s no wind left to blow?
Which way will the river run
When there’s no where left to go?


Bealtaine Festival – Thurles Library

The Source Library, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Ms Suzanne Brosnan (Senior Library Assistant), Tipperary County Council Library Service, brings us all the news on the Thurles “Bealtaine Festival”, starting tomorrow, May 3rd.

Friday May 3rd – Exhibition Launch in ‘The Gallery’ – 11.00am

Our May exhibition is the art work of and by four local artists Alice Regan, Marian Maher, Patsy Hogan & Helen Campbell. The exhibition will be launched by branch manager Gerard Flannery. Why not drop into the library for a coffee and browse the beautiful art, presented by talented local artists.

Wednesday & Thursday May 8th & 9th – Thurles Men’s Shed Roadshow – 10.00am – 4.00pm.

Thurles Men’s Shed (TMS) provides the platform for a large number of gifted craftsmen to practice and exhibit their talents. Thurles library are delighted to welcome the members of the men’s shed to the library to display their work. If you are interested in finding out more about TMS why not call in and chat to one of the members to find out more details.

Tuesday 14th May 14th – Talk on ‘Bee Keeping’, by Jerry Ryan – 6.30pm

Interested in starting up your own hive, wish to hear how you can improve your own or simply interested in learning more about these intriguing insects. Jerry Ryan will offer plenty of knowledge about these fascinating, necessary and endangered species. Booking essential – Tel: 0761-06-6131

Friday 17th May 17th – Coffee Morning in the Library with ‘The Monk’s Musicians’ from 11.00am – 12.00 noon.

One of the annual highlights here in Thurles Library. We are delighted to welcome back the musicians of the Monk’s Pub. Enjoy a cup of tea, and a chat, whilst they raise the gallery roof with their music and song. All are welcome to attend.

Tuesday May 21st – ‘Tin Whistle Class’ – Anthony Condron at 6.30pm

Ever wanted to take-up a traditional Irish instrument but didn’t know how or where to start? Now is your chance with this introduction to tin whistle with accomplished musician Anthony Condron. Booking here is essential – Tel: 0761-06-6131.

Thursday 23rd May – “Greyhound on a Train” by Carnation Theatre – 11.00am

Join the Carnation Theatre as they present the drama “Greyhound on a Train”, formed on the testimonies and real life stories of women who took part in the War of Independence, Josephine Stallard, Bridget Fitzpatrick & Elizabeth Bloxham among others. Once again, for this event booking is essential – Tel: 0761-06-6131


Richard Bruton Launches Fund For Circular Economy Innovators.

€600,000 available under the EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme EPA043339

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. today launched a €600,000 funding opportunity for novel approaches to promote the circular economy, maximise resource efficiency and reduce waste.

It will fund innovators to develop and demonstrate business-ready solutions in the circular economy for consumers and for commercial clients. This funding call is a key part of Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme, which is led by the EPA.

Minister Mr Richard Bruton said; “Transition to a low carbon circular economy will disrupt traditional business models and create new enterprise opportunities. This fund is an excellent opportunity for early movers to seize these opportunities and lead the way. Ireland uses over 100 million tonnes of materials annually, and too much of the waste from this often ends up in landfill or an incinerator after only a short period of use. This funding initiative provides a bridge to commercial, transferable and scalable solutions that will deliver a circular and low carbon economy in Ireland.”

Applications are invited in areas of national importance such as Food Waste Prevention; Construction & Demolition and Plastics. These are key priorities nationally which require innovative thinking and solutions and are also priorities of the EU’s Circular Economy Package.

Ms Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said; “The EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme supports behavioural change and sustainable choices through targeted funding programmes and sharing best practices. Inefficient consumption and missed opportunities for reuse & recycling leads to more waste and higher greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA is pleased to support smart management of materials to keep them in use longer which reduces demand for raw materials and protects the environment. This is the win-win opportunity presented by the circular economy.”

The National Waste Prevention Programme offers opportunities for innovation funding, networking and partnering. The EPA is planning new strategic programmes with high visibility and influence and is keen to work with other organisations, public bodies and networks in the areas of industry & enterprise, product design and research & innovation.

Further information on the National Waste Prevention Programme and the funding call – Green Enterprise – Innovation for a Circular Economy is available on the EPA website.