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real feel: 7°C
wind speed: 5 m/s ESE
sunrise: 7:59 am
sunset: 4:33 pm
 

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Monsanto Gglyphosate Verdict Upheld

An American judge Suzanne Bolanos has denied Monsanto’s request for a new trial and has further upheld a jury verdict against the Bayer subsidiary Monsanto in a case regarding the cancer danger of some of its weed killer products.  A jury in the case found the company’s glyphosate-based[1] weed-killers, including RoundUp, (widely used here in Ireland), responsible for a man’s terminal cancer.

Earlier this year the first study of exposure in adults to glyphosate, the most commonly used pesticide in Ireland, had found that the general population is being subjected to low exposure from this chemical, but “within acceptable EU safety limits”. Roundup has continued to be licensed for use in Ireland in spite of the earlier US courts decision to award a school groundsman who claimed it contributed to his terminal cancer.

[1]Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses that compete with crops.

In 2015, the cancer unit of the World Health Organisation classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” However, later in 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency concluded that a decades-long assessment of the risks associated with the use of glyphosate, was not carcinogenic in humans.

This evaluation will now influences decisions in the case of some 8,000 other such upcoming lawsuits in the USA.

Monsanto, in denying the allegations, had previously asked Judge Bolanos to throw out the entire previous verdict or to order a new trial.  The Judge, in her ruling, did cut the previous $289 million (€253m), punitive damages award by $200 million; back to $78 million to comply with the law regarding how such damage awards must be calculated.

Bayer, a German company, which had purchased Monsanto recently for $63 billion, is adamant that decades of scientific studies have concluded that glyphosate is safe for human use, and in a statement said. “The courts decision to reduce the punitive damage award by more than $200 million is a step in the right direction, but we continue to believe that the liability verdict and damage awards are not supported by the evidence at trial or the law and plan to file an appeal with the California Court of Appeal”.

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Tipperary Male Dead Following Farm Tragedy

A 47 year old male has tragically lost his life, following a farm accident here in Co. Tipperary, early this morning.

We understand that the accident occurred on a pig farm close to Rathcabbin, Borrisokane, in the North of the county.

The Health and Safety Authority have confirmed that they are investigating the incident, with two of their inspectors presently on site.

Gardaí in Borrisokane were called to the incident at approximately 8.30am this morning, and we understand the man was working with a digger. Gardaí have now confirmed this accident, without disclosing the exact circumstances surrounding the death; only to state that the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The above tragedy comes following a number of other farm fatalities nationally over the summer months. Back in July a man in his 90’s lost his life on his Kerry farm, while also in July, a 54 year-old woman, tending to cattle in a field, was killed in a farm accident in Co. Galway.

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Two-Mile-Borris Community Hall Offered For Sale

The Community Hall, which sits in the centre of the picturesque village of Two-Mile-Borris, near Thurles, Co. Tipperary, is being currently offered for sale.
The hall’s closure in recent times had caused many living within the local community, to pause regarding the issue of its closure, while they considering its immediate future.

However in recent weeks a ‘For Sale’ sign has materialised; displayed on its front portals, without, according to some very upset locals, any consultation with the local village population.

Same sale within this tight knit community has generated no little hidden anger, with many viewing this decision as ‘high handed’, according to some individuals with whom we spoke.

In 1995 the hall was placed in the care of the parish, before being later invested in the Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust. A committee had been formed to look after the day-to-day running of this local asset, however a recent lack of maintenance and supervision etc, brought about its temporary closure.

Known History Of Two-Mile-Borris Community Hall
The hall, we understand, originated back in the latter part of the 19th century; around the 1890’s, when the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society (IAOS), latter a co-operative movement became established in Ireland. A group of innovative farmers in the area came together to form the Two Mile Borris Agricultural Society; becoming shareholders.
The initial aim of this Society was to purchase seed; fertiliser, and farm machinery, hiring out the latter to aid the local farming community. Part of the building was also used as a dwelling house.

The first secretary of the Society was Mr Tom Fanning from the townsland of Skehana, Two-Mile-Borris.  The Society eventually went out of existence after some years.

Up until 1960 the ‘Society’, as the building was known, was used as a storeroom. Then the Fanning Family, from Skehana granted the use of the premises, including the now vacant dwelling area, to the Legion of Mary. Renovations were undertake by Mr John McGuire, a local building contractor and by local voluntary labour, before the Legion of Mary began to use the hall as a meeting place; a venue for fund-raising and as a tea rooms.

In the 1970’s Two-Mile-Borris Festival Committee used the hall, carrying out further developments in subsequent years. This same Festival Committee also purchased the field beside the school, without financial assistance from any lending agency. Locals were adamant in their praise of these former, hard working, community members, latter who raised the finance for both of these aforementioned two projects.
[We learn that this former committee included names such as: Fr. Bobby Harkin C.C., Mr Richard Ryan, Mr Jimmy Moloughney, Mr Gerry Bowe, Ms Josie Fanning, Mr Thomas Cussen and Mr Sean Cussen, latter all clearly visible to the fore and at the helm of this organisation in the past.]

Interesting to note that some of the community then sought a ‘Vegas’ type hall at that time, but all were ruled out of order.

In 1989 the late Mr Harry Ryan, Galboola, Littleton, then Chairperson of Tipperary Co. Council, for the first time since the halls inception, held a meeting of the Council Authority here in his own native Two-Mile-Borris.

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EPA – Agri-Food Sector Needs To Improve Environmental Compliance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published its Industrial and Waste Licence Enforcement Report for the year 2017. This report gives details of compliance levels and enforcement activities across the 800 licensed facilities during 2017.

The Food and Drink sector had the poorest compliance, including the most number of non-compliances and the highest number of prosecutions.

Key findings for 2017 were:-
Over 1500 site inspections were completed.
Unannounced were 91% of inspections.
Six sites were inspected 20 or more times.
In 2017, 22 prosecutions were concluded.
One Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) case concluded.
Over €374,000 in fines and costs were awarded.
Over 1000 complaints were received about licensed facilities.
Odour complaints decreased by 42% – Noise complaints increased by 68%

Commenting on the report Mr Gerard O’Leary, EPA Director of the Office of Environmental Enforcement stated: “The EPA targets its enforcement efforts at the most non-compliant facilities. The publication of the National Priority Sites system last year has driven environmental compliance and seen much needed investment in environmental infrastructure. Over half of the sites who have appeared on the Priority Sites list have been convicted or are facing prosecution.”

Three Tipperary companies were amongst those prosecuted by the EPA in recent years.

Rosderra Irish Meats of Carrig, Roscrea were fined for failing to ensure emissions to sewer did not exceed permitted limits. (Fines & Charges amounted to €18,500)
Arrabawn Co-Operative Society, Nenagh, September 2017. (Fined €16,000)
Bord na Mona Fuels, Littleton, Thurles, in 2016.  (Fines & Charges in 2017 nearly €12,000).

The EPA has also published the latest National Priority Sites List for Enforcement today. Five sites (See below 1) are on the latest list for failing to meet the necessary environmental standards. These companies face further enforcement action.

Four of the five sites are from the agri-food sector; this sector has accounted for almost half of all priority sites since publication last year.
Of the 19 sites published on the list since it commenced, 13 have either been convicted or now face prosecution.
Four sites have come off the previous National Priority Site List following improvements in compliance.

Ms Mary Gurrie, Programme Manager, EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement commented:

“The National Priority Sites system has exceeded our expectations as a tool to drive environmental compliance. Companies have come off the list in the past year by improving operational practices or making significant investment in infrastructure. Sites in the agrifood sector have dominated the list (11 of 19 sites) and compliance in this sector needs to improve.”

1  The following are the National Priority Sites for January – June 2018.
[ The EPA will update the National Priority Sites list, on a quarterly basis.]
Reg. No. P0812-01  –  Arrow Group  –  Co. Kildare.
Reg. No. P0815-02  –  Lacpatrick Dairies Limited  –  Co. Monaghan.
Reg. No. P0180-02  –  Rosderra Irish Meats Group (Edenderry) –  Co. Offaly.
Reg. No. W0136-03  –  Starrus Eco Holdings Limited (Munster) –  Co. Cork.

Reg. No. P0831-01  – Western Brand Group Limited  –  Co. Mayo.

Licensed facilities are identified as National Priority Sites for enforcement, using a system developed by the EPA. Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data such as complaints, incidents and non-compliances over the previous six months. Sites which exceed a certain threshold become a National Priority Site and are targeted by the EPA for further enforcement action.

The National Priority Sites for Enforcement system was launched by the EPA in July 2017 to drive further environmental compliance at industrial and waste facilities.

Further details of the National Priority Sites scoring system and the list of sites can be found here National Priority Sites :: Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland.

Enforcement information on all sites can be found under the Licence Search pages at www.epa.ie.

Complaints about licensed sites can be made on-line or by contacting the EPA at Tel: 053-9160600.

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Fourth Major Fish Kill In North Tipperary In Seven Weeks

It is not by accident that Thurles.Info have been raising environmental issues and concerns regarding important and desirable biodiversity; while highlighting the failure by this present minority Fine Gael government, supported by Fianna Fáil, to protect the quality food producers and the employment they support, here in Co. Tipperary.

The Ollatrim River rises in North Co. Tipperary and flows through the Townland of Ollatrim, joining the Ballinaboy River and Nenagh River east of the town of Nenagh.

Together all flow into Lough Derg, just north of the picturesque village of Dromineer. Indeed a short section of this river indicates the perimeter between Co. Tipperary and our near neighbours, Co. Offaly.

It took eight days for Officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland to notify the public that an investigation has now begun after some 15,000 fish were killed, over a 5km stretch, in the above named Ollatrim River. Officers had attended the scene at Ballinahemery Bridge, close to Ballymackey, Nenagh on Monday 9th July last, having been alerted to a major fish kill.

Inland Fisheries Officers estimate that some 10,500 Lamprey (Latter a protected species), 1,400 Brown Trout, 805 Stoneloach, 1,820 Minnow, 70 Salmon, 70 Crayfish and 84 Stickleback were numbered in this extermination.

Inland Fisheries confirm that this is the largest kill of Lamprey in recent years and now believe it may take some years for stock numbers to at least partially recover.

Herbicide or pesticide or some other Agricultural chemical is understood to have caused this major fish kill. This latest incident will be investigated but no findings will be made public.

Fourth Major Fish Kill In North Tipperary In Less Than Eight Weeks

Not including the current Crayfish Plague, this latest major fish kill in North Tipperary rivers comes to four since late May last. During that month, over 100 trout and juvenile salmon stocks died, when a greyish coloured foul smelling substance entered the Mill River in Ballina. In early June we learned of yet another fish kill on the Ballintotty River, which left the entire trout and salmon population wiped out along a stretch of the river. Then another incident, which occurred at Ballycrinode, Ballinalough, when supposedly slurry accidentally spilled into the river.

Nothing accidentally spills into our Rivers. Accidents do not happen they are caused and offenders must at least be seen to be prosecuted.

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