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EPA – Pace At Which Improvements In Waste Water Treatment Is Being Delivered Is Too slow.

Unacceptable delays and the pace at which essential improvements in waste water treatment are being delivered is too slow, says EPA.

  • 34 towns and villages release raw sewage into the environment every day, and a third of these will continue to do so after 2024.
  • 12 large towns and cities did not meet waste water treatment standards set to protect our environment. These areas generate half of Ireland’s waste water.
  • Ireland will need substantial and sustained investment to bring public waste water treatment up to standard.

The EPA report on Urban Waste Water Treatment in 2020, released today, shows that the pace at which essential improvements in waste water treatment are being delivered is too slow.

Irish Water is making progress in resolving environmental issues and the number of priority areas has reduced from 148 to 97 over the past four years. However, there is still a long way to go to bring all deficient treatment systems up to standard.

There have been further delays in providing treatment for many of the 34 towns and villages discharging raw sewage, and as a result over one third of these areas will not receive treatment until after 2024.

River Suir, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Investment in waste water infrastructure is bringing environmental benefits to some areas. The number of large towns and cities failing to meet EU treatment standards is down from 28 in 2017 to 12 in 2020. However, the final deadline for all large urban areas to meet these treatment standards was 2005.

Commenting on the report, Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “It is unacceptable that 15 years after the final deadline to comply, half of Ireland’s urban waste water is still not treated to the basic EU standards. There are repeated delays in providing proper treatment at many areas, and this continues to put our environment and people’s health at risk. It is clear that Ireland will still need substantial investment over many years to bring our public waste water treatment plants and public sewers up to standard. Irish Water must deliver the essential infrastructure in as timely a manner as possible and resolve the underlying causes for the delays in upgrading treatment systems.”

The EPA report identifies the priority areas where improvements are most urgently needed and will deliver the greatest environmental benefits.

Mr Noel Byrne, EPA Programme Manager said: “While we are seeing progress at some areas, it is very concerning that Irish Water still has no clear action plans setting out when and how it will improve treatment at many of the priority areas where waste water is threatening the quality of our rivers and coastal waters. It is essential that Irish Water improves treatment to resolve the environmental issues highlighted by the EPA and provides clear, site specific action plans and time frames to carry out this work.”

The report contains key actions recommended for Irish Water as follows:

  • Direct resources to the priority areas and ensure there is a clear plan and time frame to resolve the environmental issues at each area.
  • Resolve the underlying causes for delays in upgrading treatment systems and deliver upgrade works in as timely a manner as possible.
  • Complete the impact assessments for shellfish waters and address the information shortfalls on the condition and performance of collecting systems.

The report is now available on the EPA Website.


Quirke Appeal Against Murder Conviction To Be Decided Next Week.

Mr Patrick Quirke from Breanshamore, in Co. Tipperary will learn, possibly on Tuesday next, whether his appeal regarding his conviction for murder has been successful.

The 52-year-old Mr Quirke has spent the past two years in Midlands Prison, Portlaoise, County Laois, where he is serving a life sentence for the murder of lorry driver and part-time Disc Jockey, Mr Bobby Ryan, in or about June 3rd 2011, at an unknown location. His guilt had been decided by a 10 – 2 jury verdict, following a 15-week trial.

It has been more than one year since Mr Quirke’s appeal against the court’s decision regarding the infamous love-rival killing in Co. Tipperary was first lodged. The Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with some 52 submissions of appeal by Mr Quirke, led to the unprecedented delay in the appeal case. However, it is understood that both defence and prosecution counsel were informed, on Wednesday last, that a judgment would be delivered early next week. If successful in his appeal, Mr Quirke’s conviction for the murder of Mr Ryan, will now be overturned.

The trial of Mr Quirke, in 2019 was the longest in the history of the Irish State, with the victim missing for some 22 months, before his body was eventually found in a disused run-off tank on Ms Mary Lowry’s land at Fawnagown, Co Tipperary, in April 2013.

Issues during the trial were raised about how Gardaí had handled the discovery of Mr Ryan’s body, with the court hearing details of how part of a concrete capping slab fell into the tank, possibly causing damage to the body of deceased in the process.


Oct. 30th -“Pumpkin Fest” Arrives To Holycross Market.

Halloween is coming to Holycross with an extra special “Holycross Pumpkin Fest” taking place on October 30th.

A host of spooky and spectacular events promise to entertain young and old and guarantee the very best in family fun.

For strong and skilled conker fighters, participants are sought for a “Conker Championship” with a trophy and prizes for the winners.

Ruadhán Gormally, the incredibly talented Galway born puppet maker, who was recently featured on the Ryan Tubridy Show, will be there on the day, to entertain and delight with a collection of his best puppets.

Not to be missed kids.

On October 30th, there will be an extended opening time from 1:00pm to 4:00pm, with lots of extra music, tricks, treats and other shenanigans for children and adults, in honour of this truly Irish tradition.
Yes, that’s right! Halloween, is an Irish tradition, owing its origins to the Celts and first celebrated over 2000 years ago.

The Celts celebrated the end of Harvest on the last day of October as part of a holiday called Samhain. They believed that on this day, spirits came and killed their crops.
To keep the spirits happy and at bay, the Celts left out food to treat the spirits and danced and dressed up wearing masks and costumes to keep the spirits entertained.

When Christianity arrived in Ireland, this tradition evolved. ‘All Souls’ Day‘ begun to be celebrated on November 2nd to honour the dead. November 1st became a day to honour the Saints or All Saints Day, also known as, All Hallow’s Day. October 31st became All Hallow’s Eve, which eventually morphed into the word Halloween.

Hundreds of years later, Halloween is celebrated all around the world, with children and adults alike, still dressing up, enjoying treats and telling ghost stories, and they owe it all to the Irish.


National Parks & Wildlife Secure Section 40 Convictions Against Farmers.

We spoke recently (Late June) regarding ineffective changes to a stretch of healthy Hawthorn trees, latter recently annihilated close to the river Suir, behind the new Lidl shopping complex, being replaced by ‘sod all’.

Delighted to read that, at last, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have gotten up from their office seats, to secure convictions against persons responsible for the destruction of hedgerows and woodland, during this same bird-nesting season.

Separate cases have been heard recently in Ballina District Court and in Nenagh District Court, both taken under section 40 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act of 2000, with the NPWS stating that a number of similar cases are also before the courts.

At a recent sitting of Ballina District Court, a Mayo farmer has been fined €4,000, and received a 20% penalty to his farm payments, for the destruction of vegetation over an area of around 1.9 acres, during the bird-nesting season.
At Nenagh District Court, Co. Tipperary, yet another Galway farmer was also convicted and fined €3,000 for destroying 755 metres of hedgerows, and 0.7 acres of scrub woodland, at a farm here in Co. Tipperary.

NPWS has stated that it has noted an increase in the number of such reports of the complete removal of hedgerows and vegetation on lands not cultivated, during the statutory bird-nesting season.
NPWS now state it is fully committed to investigating such areas, where this destruction is reported.

In Nenagh District Court, the remarks made by Judge Ms Elizabeth McGrath, should be heralded throughout this island. She stated that “section 40 is not a bureaucratic law, and exists to protect birds and their habitat.”


“Tipperary Scutchers” Where Are They Gone?

Back in the late 18th-century spinning wheels were supplied, by the then Irish Linen Board, to Tipperary individuals, in an ambitious scheme undertaken to encourage the growing/farming of Flax.

Nationally, some 60,000 linen workers, became involved, which in turn assisted the development of a vibrant Irish linen industry. Irish Damask linen, developed in the 18th century, would go on to grace the dining tables of Royalty and the lesser landed gentry across the world, thus providing employment at a local level here in Co. Tipperary and nationally for centuries.

Since ancient times, Flax, also known as Linseed, from which linen is manufactured, had been growing in Ireland. Proof of flax curing has been uncovered in Irish bogs, dating back over two thousand years.

Early Irish Brehon Laws dictated that every farmer had to learn and practice the cultivation of Flax. In Tudor times, between 1485 and 1603, the production of linen was so great in Ireland that a law had to be passed banning the practise of ‘leaching’ and ‘water retting’ in rivers, to protect against the poisoning of fish stocks.

[Leaching and Retting: A process employed to facilitate the controlled rotting of cellular tissues, on Flax, thus separating the fibre from the stem of the plant.]

Labourers offloaded their flax plants into ponds, rivers, or retting dams and let it ‘ret’ for up to two weeks. Those farming then set up what were called flax ‘chapels’, rather like ‘stooked’ grain sheaves; latter supporting each other to be dried by the prevailing wind.

Flax sheaves being ‘stooked’

Back in 1796, the Board of Trustees of the Linen and Hempen Manufactures of Ireland (1711-1823) wished to encourage more farmers to grow flax and hemp seed to meet a ready demand. Spinning wheels, and looms, were awarded in proportion to the acreage sown. This incentive, encouraged small farmers to allocate part of their land to flax and hemp crops. County inspectors were appointed to receive claims from the growers and county lists were published as official documents of the Board.

A quarter-acre of flax grown would have qualified for one spinning wheel and for those who grew over five acres, a loom to the value of fifty shillings was granted.

Named Flax Growers of County Tipperary, 1796

NAME Town/VillageCounty
Archer William, Drom,Co. Tipperary.
Brien Patrick,Templebredon,Co. Tipperary.
Brook William, Caher,Co. Tipperary.
Burke Patrick, Nenagh,Co. Tipperary.
Burne Darby, Emly,Co. Tipperary.
Conners James, Nenagh,Co. Tipperary.
Doherty William, Doon,Co. Tipperary.
Henecy John, Cloneen,Co. Tipperary.
Hurley Timothy, Drom,Co. Tipperary.
Keesse David,Emly,Co. Tipperary.
Kinkade Richard, Emly,Co. Tipperary.
Long Robert, Knockgraffon,Co. Tipperary.
M’Donnel Arthur, Nenagh,Co. Tipperary.
M’Donnell Charles, Drom,Co. Tipperary.
Marnane John,Lattin,Co. Tipperary.
Marnane Thomas, Solloghodbeg,Co. Tipperary.
Meagher Daniel,Templebredon,Co. Tipperary.
Murphy Cornelius, Emly,Co. Tipperary.
Parker Roger,Nenagh,Co. Tipperary.
Parker William,Kilmurry,Co. Tipperary.
Parkinson William,Drom,Co. Tipperary.
Ryan James,Capagh,Co. Tipperary.
Ryan Samuel,Nenagh,Co. Tipperary.
Saunders Adam,Doon,Co. Tipperary.
Stokes Mary,Nenagh,Co. Tipperary.
White James,Knockgraffon,Co. Tipperary.

Small cottage industries thrived across Ireland until large factory-type production began in the 1830s, providing water-powered scutching (beating), washing and beetling mills (beetling the pounding of linen or cotton fabric to give a flat, lustrous sheen was achieved). Irish industrialised linen production occupied both men, women and children, latter who worked to steep, scutch, spin, weave and bleach, latter stage using lime.

In the Census of Ireland in 1911 there where 456 people nationally whose occupations are recorded as ‘Flax Scutchers’.

Are there any persons occupied as ‘Scutchersin Co. Tipperary today?