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Mikey Ryan – Mystery Of Vanishing Fairy Cakes

“I see ‘The Geezer’ McGrath sadly passed away last week”, said I to Mikey Ryan. We were both above in the Arch Bar, Liberty Square, Thurles today, sheltering once more from the suns dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays, latter being emitted and targeting currently the town of Thurles here in Co. Tipperary.

The reason for my own stopover was merely to support Mikey, latter who had informed ‘Frau’ Ryan, his lesser half, that it was crucial that he watch the longest eclipse of this century, when the moon was set to line up with the earth and the sun on tomorrow, July 27th, 2018, to form a ‘Blood Moon’.

Somehow or other Mikey had managed to fully convinced ‘Frau’ Ryan that he needed to be there a day early, to be sure, as he said himself, “of getting a front row seat in the Lounge of the Arch Bar, near to any device that might be used to observe distant objects, their emissions or absorptions, and / or their reflection, if any, of expected electromagnetic radiation”.  Sure, like isn’t ‘a nod as good as a wink’ to a blind ass, if you know what I mean.

“Ah yes, the poor auld Geezer, decent enough auld skin”, said Mikey, “sure I worked with him, only once mind you, on the graveyard shift; when we painted over in Sweeney’s Bakery in Mitchell Street, in the late sixty’s”.

“Yes, those were the days; begob the smell of those fresh loaves of bread and sponge cakes coming out of the oven would do your heart good back then”, continued Mikey.

“I suppose they would throw you the odd auld loaf of ‘scab bread’ (A traditional Irish Batch Loaf) as a bonus; still warm from the oven, for your breakfast, when you were heading home?” said I.

“Sure Justin, the head man, was as mean as feckin dishwater”, said Mikey, “he wouldn’t give you so much as the steam of his, you know whatSure, over in the canteen he insisted that a fork be kept at all times in the sugar bowl”, continued Mikey.

“Begob yes”, said I, “sure I heard many a Thurles person state that they suspected that the once 7-sided 50 pence piece, was actually designed by him; to replace the old 10-shilling note; thus, making it easier to extract from a customer’s fist, using an adjustable Wrench”.

“You know, come to think of it, one of the reasons I only ever worked once with ‘The Geezer’ was because of a little episode in that bakery”, said Mikey. “I once managed to lift one of their Fairy Cakes, quickly concealing it in my overalls, without ever being spotted by head buck cat, Justin Fogarty, which believe you me was a major feat of ingenuity in itself “.

“On the other hand, according to ‘The Geezer’, who had spotted my manual dexterity; same action was just plain blatant thievery”, said Mikey. “Now, said ‘The Geezer’, let me show you how to do that honourably; while achieving a more moral, yet similar result; in this case not worthy of even a mention when I should next visit the confessional in the local Cathedral of The Assumption”.

“So, he calls over Justin”, said Mikey, ” Justin Fogarty, said he, do you want to see a piece of real magic, which I will only demonstrate once, said ‘The Geezer’, just one time and one time only”.

“Somewhat intrigued, Justin waltzes over, confident no doubt that any magic performed or trickery attempted by ‘The Geezer’ that day, he would and could easily interpret and explain to those employees assembled roundabout.   ‘The Geezer’ closed one eye, before reaching out and then in one swift movement he grabbed a fairy cake, hastily eating it, reducing it to a few tiny crumbs.”

According to Mikey, “That action will cost you 50 pence, said Justin, alarmed that his baker’s dozen had been drastically reduced to a standard twelve; before then asking the question, where was the feckin magic to be found in someone simply eating a Fairy Cake?”.

“Ah now, replied ‘The Geezer’, sure you thought I ate your miserable fairy cake, didn’t you, now you take a look in the pocket of Mikey Ryan’s overalls and you will see that my action was a mere optical illusion.”


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.


Dunnes, Spar, Tesco, & Lidl Remove Products From Shelves

As a precautionary measure, on the advice of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, (FSAI) Dunnes Stores and Spar are initiating a recall of their own brand pestos, due to the possible presence of Salmonella. Consumers who may have bought the implicated batches should return it to the place of initial purchase.

Dunnes Stores
The batches involved in the recall at Dunnes Stores are the 130g, Dunnes Stores, Tomato Pesto (With use by dates between 05/07/2018 and 30/09/018) and Basil Pesto (With use dates between 02/07/2018 and 25/09/2018).

Spar’s recall involves their 125g Basil Pesto (With use by dates between 05/07/2018 and 25/09/2018) and Red Pesto (With use by dates between 05/07/2018 and 25/09/2018).

Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd
Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd are recalling a wide variety of frozen vegetable products, because they could cause Listeria monocytogenes.  Listeria is a serious disease which can be life threatening, particularly for pregnant women, the elderly and people with a weakened immune system, according to the FSAI. This company’s frozen vegetables are on sale in Tesco and Lidl, among other stores.

Products recalled include:-

4 Steam Bags Carrot, Broccoli & Sweetcorn 640g (With use dates up to and including Jan 2020). 4 Steam Bags Peas, Broccoli, Spinach & Sweetcorn 640g; 4 Growers Harvest Steam Bags Carrot, Peas & Sweetcorn 640g; Mixed Vegetables with Red Peppers 1kg; Sweetcorn (Resealable) 1kg; Classic Mixed Vegetables (Resealable) 1kg: Growers Harvest Sweetcorn
907g; Growers Harvest Mixed Vegetables 1.16kg; Everyday Value Sweetcorn 907g;

Green Grocer’s (Lidl)
Super sweet Sweetcorn 1kg; All batches, with all ‘Best before Dates’; Fragrant Golden Rice (2 Single Steam Pouches) 400g;

Green Grocer’s & Freshona (Lidl)
Mixed Vegetables 1kg; Steamers Carrots, Broccoli & Sweetcorn 4 x 160g; Steamers Baby Carrots, Peas, Green Beans & Sweetcorn 4 x 160g.

Choice Mixed Vegetables 1kg, (With use all use dates up to Jan 2020). Note: Only Batch codes ending “Z or N” affected, i.e: DEC 19 L****Z or DEC 19 L****N; Garden Peas 2.5kg; Sweetcorn 2.5kg, and Mixed Vegetables 900g, (with use date codes between Jan 2020 and June 2020 inclusive).

The FSAI advise all consumers to return all named products to the store from where they were purchased. They also recommend that consumers who may be feeling unwell, should seek medical advice.


Dunnes Stores “Simply Better” Yogurts Recalled

According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, a recall of certain flavours of Dunnes Stores “Simply Better” Yogurts has been put into effect; due to the possible presence of pieces of rubber.

Note: This recall affects four flavours in the 150g tub range, namely:- ‘Toffee’; ‘Lemon & Lime’; ‘Raspberry & Pomegranate’; and ‘Senga Strawberry’, yogurts.

Customers who may have purchased this product are asked to return same to their local Dunnes Stores outlet, for a full refund.

The Toffee flavoured yoghurt affected has a use-by date of May 12th, while the other three varieties named above have use-by dates of May 17th.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland confirm that no other use-by dates are known to be affected.


FSAI Serve Closure Order On Tipperary Food Outlet

A restaurant and café, situated at No.14 Market Street, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary was served this month with a closure order, by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

The restaurant named as China Kitchen, was ordered to close under regulations cited as the European Communities (Official Control of Foodstuffs) Regulations 2010.

The restaurant was closed on Valentine’s Day, (February 14th) with the closure order served by the Health Service Executive (HSE) on Anna Liew, following an inspection, however the order was lifted again the following day.

Details of all enforcement reports from around the country, e.g. Closure Orders; Improvement Orders (FSAI Act 1998); and Prohibition Orders, can be viewed HERE.