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International Earth Hour March 25th 2017

Thurles Eco Spirituality Group reports:

Eco-spirituality is based on a simple fundamental belief in the sacredness of Nature, Mother Earth and our Universe.  Promoters and exponents of such spirituality come from an assortment of beliefs and religious faiths including: Christianity; Judaism; Buddhism, Islam and many other indigenous traditions.

While many of the above named religious group’s and their beliefs may differ considerably, one central theme remains that there is a spiritual dimension to the present ecological crisis being currently experienced.

International Earth Hour is an annual campaign that brings attention to the effects of climate change by asking people to switch off non-essential lights for one hour on this evening, Saturday 25th March, between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. (In roughly one hour’s time.).

This campaign was begun in Sydney, Australia in 2007, making today its 10th Anniversary.

Simple actions to assist in bringing about climate justice:
  • Turn off lights when you leave an empty room.
  • Switch off and unplug TV’s, Chargers, Laptops, etc. when not in use.
  • Do not leave the tap running while preparing food or brushing your teeth.
  • Buy locally produced food and plan your shopping to avoid wastage.
  • Plant trees and shrubs.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
  • Encourage family and friends to do all of the above.
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Installing A Nesting Box In Your Garden

It’s still not too late to install a Bird nesting box in your garden. Ideally the box should have been put in place during last autumn or at least in the early part of last winter. This would have allowed regular bird visitors to your garden plot enough time to get used to its existence.

You can get bird boxes from various stores here in Thurles, including from Thurles Men’s Sheds, Mitchel Street, Thurles.

When installing, fix the box onto something solid; a sturdy garden fence, a stone or cement wall, a secure post; using screws, or if to a mature tree, use strong plastic electric cable ties. Position the nest box between 2 metres (6ft) and 4 metres (12ft) above ground level, preferably out of direct midday sunlight.

Always position the box in such a way as to ensure its front door is facing between north-east and south-east in an area well shaded by foliage, thus offering maximum shelter against Ireland’s regular south west prevailing weather conditions.

Do add a small protruding perch to your nest box, and ensure that same is out of reach of roaming, domestic, furry, feline friends or other natural predators. Try to keep nesting boxes away from bird tables also so as to allow Mum and Dad and their brood to fully relax away from unnecessary noise.

Once in place, relax, sit back, observe quietly and resist all temptation to inspect the box constantly. Such actions can disturb and drive off nesting birds, forcing them to desert their chosen home in favour of other quieter rent free accommodation.

At the end of summer or early autumn always check that any previous nesting material or unhatched eggs is removed, as old nest materials can become infested by various types of larvae, which can cause a serious infestation to any future nesting inhabitants.

Do wear rubber gloves when removing waste nest material, before pouring freely, simply plain boiling water into and over the box. This extermination process removes any hidden parasites that may have holed-up in cracks or crevices. Avoid all temptation to use insecticide, if possible.

Remember birds will often return to use your nest box for roosting outside their breeding season, so it is a good idea to install a small handful of clean hay or wood shavings or a temporary roost, for this eventuality.

Expect Earwigs to make their home in any narrow crevices in your nest box, but same will not cause any harm to tenanted birds. To avoid this Earwig problem, inviting crevices can be filled using the various types of filling compounds available in your local DIY store.

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One Dead Following Tipperary Multi-Vehicle Collision

Part of the M7 Dublin to Limerick road between Junction 27 Birdhill, Co. Tipperary and Junction 28 Castletroy, Co. Limerick has been closed, after a motorist lost his life in a 12 car pile-up around 8.00pm this evening.

It is understood that the victim, a man aged in his 50’s, suffered head injuries and died after his car left the road; crashing through a fence and ending up on waste ground, in a ravine just off the motorway between Birdhill and Castletroy.

A freak hailstorm is believed to have hit the area at the time of the incident, and may have been the major factor which led to the multi-vehicle collision. It is also understood that there were other injuries sustained by other drivers and their passengers involved, but thankfully in all cases these injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

A crew of fire fighters attached to Limerick City & County Fire Service, latter who had been attending a minor collision near Newport Co. Tipperary, were quickly on the scene of the multi-vehicle collisions. Same in turn summoned help from other crews from Newport & Nenagh in Co Tipperary and from Limerick city, with six ambulances from the region being dispatched to the scene.

The southbound traffic lane between Junction 27 Birdhill and Junction 28 remains closed awaiting a Garda forensic collision investigator to conduct a detailed examination of the scene at first light.
Traffic in the area is being turned around by Gardaí and full diversions are in place.

The body of the man pronounced dead at the scene was taken to University Hospital Limerick, where a post mortem will take place.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

[Anyone who may have witnessed the accidents are asked to contact Gardaí at Henry Street Garda Station, Limerick, Tel: (061) 212 400.]

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Tipperary Wind Farm – V – EU Court Of Justice

Tipperary Wind Farm Planning Decision Referred To Europe By Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, having considered a challenge against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to grant planning permission for an electricity generating wind farm in Co Tipperary, have ruled that this case does raise issues of public importance.

The initial challenge refers to a ten year permission, granted by An Bord Pleanála, to ESB Wind Development and Coillte; to construct a wind farm in the area of Keeper Hill in the Silvermines Mountains in Co Tipperary.

Hen Harrier (Picture courtesy Mr Shay Connolly, Bird Watch Ireland)

The Supreme Court applicants had claimed that the permission granted breached EU Habitats and Environment Impact Assessment Directives and would contribute to the loss of some 400 acres of foraging for Hen Harrier, if and when this same wind farm was progressed.

Previously the High Court had dismissed the case of M/s Edel Grace of Grousehall Milestone, Thurles, Co Tipperary and Environmental Consultant Mr Peter Sweetman of Bunnahowen, Cashel, Co Galway, in their action.

The Supreme Court however now want the EU (CJEU) Court of Justice to determine European law issues, before ruling whether An Bord Pleanála properly assessed the impact of this Co. Tipperary wind farm on the habitat of these hen harriers, latter a protected species under EU law.

The important joint Supreme Court judgement on Friday last, before a seven-judge Supreme Court which included Mr Justice Frank Clarke and Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley, concluded that M/s Grace did have standing in her appeal. The fact that she had not participated in the planning process and resided less than one kilometre from the special protection area (SPA), did not deprive her of standing.  The Supreme Court therefore agreed to refer certain issues to the CJEU concerning the procedure adopted by An Bord Pleanála. These precise issues have as yet not been described, but same are expected to be set out later.

“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals”. [George Orwell, Animal Farm.]

What now makes the European Court challenge by M/s Edel Grace, Grousehall, Milestone, Thurles, Co Tipperary so important?

Should a wind turbine be installed on the ‘Stiletto in the Ghetto’, in O’Connell Street, Dublin, to further improve renewable energy sources?

Some 32 farmers in Co. Tipperary availed of payments last year for their involvement in taking the necessary measures to protect the endangered Hen Harrier bird species; known romantically as “Sky Dancers” because of their skilled and elaborate aerial displays. 

During the last five years well over €10m in funding was paid out to farmers in the form of compensation payments. Indeed it was a farmer in Co. Tipperary who received the single largest payment (€14,594) for the granting of this special protection. But an even bigger scandal is recognised when the latest Hen Harrier population figures are released.

Same figures indicate that there reside only an average of about 125 breeding Hen Harrier pairs left in Ireland. This figure registers a decline of over 33% since 2000 or a decline of almost 9% in 2016, despite the birds having being offered paid special protection since 2010. (Imagine what Focus Ireland could have achieved with this €10m funding, equal to over €8,000.00 per breeding bird pair over this same 5 year period).

What also makes this European challenge by M/s Edel Grace therefore important is not necessarily the wanton destruction by An Bord Pleanála to beautiful rural Tipperary landscapes; but rather that wind farms in rural areas are now being granted planning permission in EU funded Hen Harrier breeding areas, supposedly set up and funded to offer protection.  This so called EU protection, together with the burning of moorland is recognised as being the root cause; seriously effecting the Irish Hen Harrier population through the removal of natural breeding habitats and naturally occurring mammal feeding grounds.

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Storm Ewan To Effect Tipperary

Remember weather affects road conditions.

Met Éireann has issued national weather warnings for the latest storm system, ‘Storm Ewan’, which is expected to affect Ireland today. ‘Storm Ewan’ should see South to South-Westerly winds reach mean speeds of some 50 to 65km/h with gusts of perhaps 90 to 110km/h in some areas during this morning and later through this afternoon.

While last week ‘Storm Doris’ resulted in widespread power cuts, today a status yellow wind warning has been issued for counties including Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Kildare, Laois, Offaly and Limerick.

The concept behind ‘Yellow Level’ weather alerts is to notify those who are at risk because of their location or their activity, and to allow them to take immediate preventative action.

Winds of up to 120km/h or 75mph have also been forecast and same are expected along southern and south-eastern counties again until early this afternoon. So if you are adventuring out and about, do take care and stay away from cliff walks and difficult coastline paths in particular.

[Make note:- Other named storm systems yet to make their appearance will include:- (in the following order), ‘Fleur’, followed by ‘Gabriel’, ‘Holly’ and ‘Ivor’.]

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