Local Weather

Mostly cloudy
real feel: 17°C
wind speed: 4 m/s WNW
sunrise: 5:08 am
sunset: 9:59 pm


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.]


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.


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’.]


EU Inspectors Identify Inadequate Sewage Plants In Tipperary

One wonders if so called authorities in Brussels are fully aware that Ireland was financially destitute in recent years; having paid 42% of the total cost of the European banking crisis, at a cost of close to €9,000 per person, according to Eurostat.

My reasons for making this statement is because I read today that Europe’s environmental watchdogs are possibly taking Ireland to court over the pumping of raw sewage into rivers and the sea. Yes we are guilty, purely because we as a nation were forced to accept an €85 billion bailout from the EU/IMF/ECB troika in late 2010 to allow us regain access to financial markets, fix our broken banks and return to sustainable growth. This achieved by over burdened resident tax payers, now it is estimated that all sewage treatment plants delayed will in fact be upgraded in the next 4 years, by 2021, at a cost of some €1.25bn.

EU Inspectors claim that 38 towns and cities have inadequate treatment plants for waste water, and are putting human health at risk, while leaving the country potentially remaining liable for millions of Euro in anti-pollution fines. The European Commission is expected to take the case to the European Court of Justice, after the Government failed to meet deadlines set for sewage plants to be built or upgraded by the end of 2000 and 2005.

In particular Inspectors have identified inadequate sewage treatment plants found not suitable for the populations of Nenagh, Thurles, and Roscrea in Co. Tipperary; together with treatment plants in the popular tourist centres of Killarney and Tralee in Co. Kerry.

In Donegal, Gaoth Dobhair, Killybegs and the Ballybofey/Stranorlar areas same have been similarly identified, while Cavan; Clifden; Roscommon town; Shannon town; Tubbercurry in Co Sligo and Waterford city are also included.

Authorities in Brussels however claim that Ireland had until the end of 2000 to ensure all urban areas, with more than 15,000 residents, should have had adequate sewerage systems by the end of 2005, thus removing the risk of human defecation being discharged from medium-sized towns into our rivers, lakes and estuaries.

Now with the added danger of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. (Widely known as Brexit, a portmanteau of “British” and “exit”), should Ireland be telling Europe’s environmental watchdogs to simply wait or more directly to piss-off?


Case Of H5N8 Bird Flu Detected In Co. Tipperary

Whooper Swans

Whooper Swans

A third case, here in Ireland, of the H5N8 bird flu has been detected near the village of Borrisokane, in North Co. Tipperary. Alas same was confirmed today by the Department of Agriculture.

While no outbreaks have been detected in poultry here in Tipperary or indeed Ireland so far; two previous cases of the avian influenza have been confirmed in migrating birds within the past two months; one in Co Galway, and one in Wexford.

We understand that the case identified was found in a migrating Whooper Swan.  The Whooper Swan which normally breeds in Iceland, is a Winter visitor to Ireland’s wetlands, coastal inlets, estuaries and rivers, feeding on grasslands and stubble. Visiting from October to April each year; same are easily recognised via their vocal bugling or honking sound.

Following these confirmations of avian influenza, the Department of Agriculture has again emphasised the need for poultry flock owners to confine poultry and to remain vigilant; thus assisting in the prevention of this disease. Owners are also required to report any suspicious disease affecting their flocks; to their nearest Department Veterinary Office (Davis Street Tipperary – Tel: 062 80100).

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that although the H5N8 subtype flu can cause serious disease in poultry and other bird life, no human infections of this virus have as yet been reported world-wide and therefore risk to humans is considered to be extremely low.  Warning however, the public, particularly curious children, are advised not to handle or seek to aid sick or dead birds, if located.