A new invasive species of Shrew is spreading across our Tipperary landscape at a rate of more than five kilometres a year, according to new research.
The Greater White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura russula) was first discovered living on our Irish shores in around 2007, first spotted in the regurgitated food remains (pellets) from Barn Owls and Kestrels and collected at some 15 locations around Tipperary. Greater White-toothed Shrews have since been trapped at four different locations in Tipperary, providing compelling evidence that this new species has now become very firmly established.
This new immigrant species, normally found along the Mediterranean, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Portugal, can be identified by their greyish brown hair and a yellowish grey lower belly, together with distinctive bright white teeth, prominent ears and long white hairs on their tails. This non native mammal species possibly arrived here in Ireland hidden amongst horticultural imports such as the root balls of cheaply imported trees, to set up residents in our midst.
This same importation of tree saplings brought us the fungus named Chalara fraxinea, which now has been confirmed as responsible for killing our native ash trees. All of the ash trees affected by this latter fungus are understood to have also been imported as saplings from continental Europe over the same time period.
While there are no known positive effects of the Greater White-toothed Shrew upon humans; the impact on the ecology of habitats in which it is found, remains presently unclear but may turn out to be considerable. These invasive miniature mammals are three times the size of its nearest rival, (weighing in at 8g – 14g) the native well established Pygmy Shrew, (Latter only 3g – 6g).
The Irish native Pygmy Shrew has existed in wild isolation here in Ireland for at least 5,000 years. Therefore, the sudden introduction of this new species, requiring both a larger shared habitat and similar dietary overlap, could now have serious consequences for our Pygmy Shrew. It has already become apparent that the Pygmy Shrew has been rapidly declining here in Co.Tipperary, where as the Greater White-toothed Shrew has instead become well established, spreading at a rate of more than five kilometres per year.
Researchers from University College Dublin (UCD) have warned that within the seven years since these creature were first discovered, it has colonised an estimated 7,600 square km in nine Irish counties, namely Tipperary, Westmeath, Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Offaly, Laois, and Cork. The reason for this rapid spread is due to the habit of the female of the genus leaving the nest early and moving away to newer territory, possibly to instinctively avoid in-breeding amongst their own species.
This recent influx and rapid growth of this non native mammal is yet another reason for calling a sudden halt to the often wanton destruction of our native birds of prey who feed on this quarry here in Co Tipperary.
For Thurles people currently not yet aware; as and from January1st 2013 last, local individuals can report issues of ‘non emergency’ concern and bring same to the attention of their Local Authority by going on-line. The publicly accessible web-site “fixyourstreet.ie,” is now an ‘All Ireland’ service, launched initially since August 2nd, 2011.
This new programming now supports a publicly functional and accessible web-site on which non emergency issues such as vandalism, unsafe road defects, issues regarding street lighting, serious water leaks, drainage issues, severe littering or indeed illegal dumping, can be immediately reported by any observer to their Local Authority.
The on-line programming is still continuing to be further developed, hence the site and it’s associated services offered, continues to remain at ‘beta’ status. This allows the functionality being offered to the public presently, to change and be further developed where necessary, eventually meeting the highest aspirations of the programmers now attempting to deliver this welcome on-line package.
As promised in the ‘Programme for Government’ it is hoped that issues raised on “fixyourstreet.ie” will, eventually, be responded to within 2 working days, however since presently ‘fixyourstreet.ie,’ is a programme moderated service, this means that when you report a local issue through the site, it may take just a little while for same to become visible on the public listings presently being highlighted at local level.
The site can be contacted nationally by sending an email to:- email@example.com, or by sending a Tweet with the hashtag/s #fysie or you can submit a ‘New Report’ by simply clicking HERE.
Tipperary’s Lough Derg shore line.
Residents in Dublin city can expect to get their fresh water supplies direct from the River Shannon in Co Tipperary, when they turn on their taps no later than 2022. Well that will be the case if our present so-called Fine Gael / Labour government gets its way.
It is understood that a plan to extract Shannon water from the Lough Derg and Parteen Basin and to store same in a reservoir at a Bord na Móna interim storage facility, formerly a major sod peat production facility, situated at Garryhinch, Co Laois, is in the pipeline.
This proposed project, plans of which are expected to be announced shortly, will swallow the biggest part of Irish Water’s infrastructure planned finance, which will now be paid for by a tax on ‘God given water,’ latter to be imposed nationally, beginning in 2015.
Irish Water has already received or borrowed €240 million from the proceeds of the 2014 Property Tax, €490 million from the 2014 Local Government Fund, €250 million from the National Pensions Reserve Fund 2013, €190 million from local businesses and soon will be handed €500 million from ordinary over burdened householders / taxpayers, through a tax on water from 2015.
This proposed interim storage facility in Laois will also be marketed to double up as a high quality outdoor recreation and educational facility and Bord na Móna is actively engaging with Dublin City Council on both the planning and delivery of this new intended water source.
Without this new planned 6 to 8 year project coming into fruition, which will cost well over €600m, Dublin will have no further capacity for the development of housing and business. The current water supply in the greater Dublin Region is described as using between 96% – 99% of its daily current capacity, with 40% of this capacity leaking daily from unrepairable faulty mains infrastructure.
The planning stage for this intended development is expected to take some three years from current date to 2016, but same plans can expect to be vigorously opposed.
People residing along the river Shannon basin and indeed the broader hinterland of the Irish Midlands, under this present Fine Gael / Labour government, see daily their heavy burden of taxes as being extracted solely for the benefit and upgrading of Dublin city residents and associated business. Dublin city is observed also as the sole beneficiary of almost all newly created employment, while rural economies like Tipperary are being completely ignored, but nevertheless still required to pay exorbitant taxes without any consideration as to people’s ability to pay, even remotely being taken into consideration.
A reminder to all local residents regarding the recycling of old electrical appliances, via WEEE Ireland.
Remember WEEE material is anything with a plug normally attached and WEEE Ireland will be making collections from 10.00am until 4.00pm, today Saturday 26th of April 2014 from the following Venues:- (1) Town Car Park, Main Square, Templemore. (2) Mid-Tipperary Mart Yard, Stradavoher, Thurles.
TVs, Old Aerials, Radios, Microwaves, IT Equipment, Dishwashers, Fridges and Freezers, Power Tools, Vacuum Cleaners, Battery Operated Toys, Kettles, Toasters, Batteries and associated items are all acceptable.
So here is your chance to bring along your old electrical appliances for recycling. Remember this is a completely FREE service, eliminating the temptation to dump illegally in our beautiful Tipperary countryside.
WEEE Ireland is a not for profit organisation, founded by producers of electrical and electronic appliances, in order to comply with the legal obligations imposed by the WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC. WEEE Ireland will organise for the treatment and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment and batteries and accumulators from authorised collection points, on behalf of its Producer Members.
To Ireland’s great shame we learn that one of the first of two White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicillato) to fledge successfully from their nest in Co Clare, here in the west of Ireland, has been found shot dead in Co Tipperary.
A post-mortem examination carried out on this magnificent bird’s remains clearly shows it was killed by a blast from a shotgun cartridge, with between 45 to 50 pellets remaining in its body. The impact of the shot broke one of the birds legs and a wing, as well as causing damage to the main torso resulting in the bird being totally grounded, possibly for some days after the shooting, unable to walk and before actually dying both from malnutrition as well as its overall sustained injuries.
This particular bird, a young male eagle, was reared by a pair of White-tailed Eagles at a nest on Lough Derg, near Mountshannon, Co Clare, directly across the lake from the village of Portroe, Nenagh, Co Tipperary and successfully flew from its nest in July 2013 last. This bird was one of the first chicks born from the high profile reintroduction programme which began way back in 2007, with the release of young Norwegian eagles, as part of the White-tailed eagle reintroduction programme.
The diet of this bird is varied, but water-based birds, mammals and fish found close to the surface of water are its potential prey. During lean winter months it will feast on carrion such as dead marine mammals, dead livestock and has also been known to eat dead humans, but latter only out of sheer necessity.
The hatching of this bird, latter fully protected by Irish law, had marked a special day for Irish nature conservation and those many people who support such efforts throughout Ireland.
Gardaí at Nenagh are fully investigating the death of this ‘White-tailed Eagle’ and anyone with information should contact Nenagh Garda Station on Tel: 067-50450.