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real feel: 11°C
wind speed: 8 m/s SSW
sunrise: 5:07 am
sunset: 9:59 pm


Health Dept. Fail To Engage With GP’s On Abortion Issues

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) held an emergency general meeting (EGM) yesterday in Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Disappointed that the Department of Health had not engaged with ordinary GPs in relation to the provision for the termination of pregnancy services; the purpose of yesterdays meeting was to debate certain complex issues that could arise for females, following the recent repeal of the Eighth Amendment, e.g.  NAGP are concerned that they do not have the necessary resources to provide abortion services.

The EGM held in private, have now agreed the following motions:

(1) The NAGP calls on the Minister for Health to clarify that he does not intend, through legislation, to make a termination of pregnancy service part of routine General Practice.

(2) The NAGP calls on the Minister for Health to ensure an ‘Opt–in’ provision for doctors who wish to provide a termination of pregnancy service and that he (the Minister) will commit to providing the appropriate resources to those providers enabling a safe and effective service.

(3) Motion that the NAGP should advocate for conscientious objection without obligation to refer. “We specifically refer to the Contraceptive, Sterilisation and Abortion 1977 NZ ACT (Sect. 46).” “We ask that a similar section be inserted into the proposed legislation.”

[ Same Section 46 states – No medical practitioner, nurse, or other person shall be under any obligation to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion].

Dr Maitiu O’Tuathail, President of the NAGP,  stated: “Any new service delivery that will be agreed will be delivered by ordinary Doctors and not by politicians. This process must therefore not be rushed. We must undertake these changes correctly from the outset. If this is not done properly it risks being yet another scandal in the health service. We must now advocate for the women of Ireland to ensure they receive the respectful, safe and supportive service which they deserve.”


World Bee Day – Today Sunday 20th May 2018

Today, Sunday 20th May, marks the first ever global “World Bee Day”, and Bee experts are expected to highlight the need for an EU ban on certain insecticides, same which are knowingly, together with other avoidable factors, linked to a drastic decline in our Bee populations.

Why is our Honey Bee so important?

Honey bees collect pollen and nectar from a variety of wild and garden flowering plants and trees. These plants and trees, include Milkweed, Dandelion, Clover, Goldenrod, Sunflowers, Roses, Catmint, etc. together with Buddleja, and a variety of garden fruit trees.

Only workers in the colony forage for food, and while consuming as much nectar from each flower as they can, they then return to the hive and pass collected nectar to others. The worker holds this nectar on its tongue until the liquid evaporates, thus creating honey. The honey is then stored within the colony for winter consumption.

Pollen remains one of the purest and richest natural foods, containing all of the nutritional requirements for a Honey Bee, i.e. sugar, carbohydrates, protein, enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
These same Bees become the pollinators vital to our own food chain.  Imagine that at least one third () of the food we eat today would not remain available, were it not for the existence of these, our busy Bees.

Today these flying insects, who are closely related to wasps and ants are in serious danger of disappearing completely from our environment. Farming practices continue to disturb their natural habitats, and over of our Irish Bee species are being threatened with extinction, with the Bumblebee population also continuing to decline each year.

This drop in population is due mainly to three factors; the unnecessary removal of ditches and hedgerows; the use of pesticides (Used In the killing of insects, small animals, unwanted plants, fungi, bacteria and viruses), and insecticides (latter includes snail bait, ant killer and wasp killer), and lastly through climate change, also attributed to mankind. Bees require food all year round, and this means we are required to allow a diversity of flowering plants to grow on our landscape.

Our farming community can help Bees and their own crops by intervention through good husbandry, by simply allowing space for a diversity of wild flowers to grow and more importantly to flower. This can happen when:-

  • Field margins can be fenced off from livestock, then allowed to either be cut or grazed after flowering.
  • Do not use fertilisers or sprays on non-farmed areas around the farmyard, e.g. in field corners, along farm roadways.  Again here, do not consider cutting until after the period of flowering.
  • If you are spraying Pesticides or Insecticides, consider spraying in the early morning or late evening, when our Honey and Bumble Bee populations are less active. Such spraying can kill Bees quickly or slowly through carrying contaminated pollen back to their particular colony, (Latter which could hold 45,000 to 75,000 individual bees), where it will becomes entered into the food chain to slowly kill the assembled insects.
  • Plant Whitethorn and Blackthorn hedging, whose early blooms are valuable to Bees, and stop removing natural hedgerows.
  • Our Government, our Local Authorities (Ministers, TD’s, Councillors take note), and we as home owners, can also assist by planting Bee-friendly bulbs and plants, in our gardens, including Snowdrops, Crocuses (or Croci), Wallflowers and Lavender etc. etc..

Our present attitude to our environment must needs be changed and our new growing generations of humans, through our schools, must be educated on the value of Bees and the unnecessary threat currently to their very existence.


Female Pedestrian Involved In Thurles Accident.

Emergency services were called to the scene of an accident on Liberty Square, Thurles (North West) less than one hour ago. (2.45pm, 17th May).

Gardaí, the Ambulance service and two Units of Thurles Fire Brigade attended at the scene.

It is understood that an elderly female pedestrian may have slipped on the edge of a footpath, crossing the entrance to O’Donovan Rossa Street on Liberty Square, falling in front of an articulated truck.

Onlookers state that the truck driver appeared to have been able to stop his vehicle in time, thus avoiding a more serious incident.

Nevertheless, while the victim’s condition was considered not to be life threatening, she was removed, by ambulance personnel to South Tipperary Hospital, for further examination and monitoring.

Time is now, to once again raise the question of the Thurles Ring Road; same promised some 16 years ago, and divert articulated trucks from this heavily pedestrianised area of Thurles.


Coast Guard Helicopter Arrives To Aid Thurles Pedestrian

Emergency services including the Irish Coast Guard Rescue helicopter attended at Thurles yesterday morning, following the collapse of a male on the street, close to the Matthew Avenue junction with Abbey Road and Friar Street, and near to the former Park Avenue House Hotel in the town.

Irish Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter attending at Thurles yesterday morning, coming into land at Dr. Morris Park, in the town. [Picture Courtesy Brian Corbett.]

Onlookers passing, first became aware of the incident; going to the aid of the pedestrian during the busy morning rush hour; and summoning the emergency services.  Two ambulances, paramedics, an emergency services motor vehicle and Thurles Gardaí were quickly at the scene, to treat and carry out Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on the victim.

The Irish Coast Guard Rescue helicopter was summoned; landing in Dr. Morris Park, close to Semple Stadium. The victim was transported by ambulance the short distance to Dr. Morris Park and quickly flown to hospital.

We wish the victim a speedy recovery.


Thurles Rightly Allocates Ecological Real Estate To Bats

Work is well under way in relation to the clearing of the site for the new Thurles car park, situated on the ‘Money Side’, south of Liberty Square here in the town.

This development has involved a great deal of unseen, yet necessary planning and preparatory work, prior to its commencement; as Templemore/Thurles Municipal Engineer Mr Michael Tierney explained today.

All new development areas currently; even areas requiring just site clearance for a car park, must take into account fully those residing and using the area. And I am not just talking about humans, I this case I am also talking about wild life inhabitants who rightly use this area, and whose needs and well-being must also be also fairly considered.  So, let’s take the case of the Thurles Daubenton’s Bat for example.

Note: Bats as we know, in general, are small, furry, intelligent animals often referred to as being like ‘Mice with Wings’. Indeed, almost one quarter of all land mammals’ resident here in Ireland are bats.  Despite the often-used idiom, “Blind as a Bat”, indeed the contrary is true, as bats are far from being blind, having excellent vision and seeing perfectly well, while also truly taking possession of the night through their capability and use of sonar. Flying at high speeds bats listen using echolocation (biological sonar) and can locate insects faster than any of our much loved feathered friends; making their their appearance at dusk, when our insect activity is to be viewed in maximum throng. [And no girls, bats do not get tangled up in your long hair.]
We are aware that some seven different types of bats have been identified as residing here in our Emerald Isle. They are:- (A) The Lesser Horseshoe; (B) Pipistrelle (Latter the small common bat); (C) The not so common Natterer; (D) The Long Eared Bat; (E) The rare Whiskered Bat; (F) Ireland’s largest bats known as Leisler’s; and finally (G) Water bats called Daubenton’s, latter first described by the German naturalist and zoologist, Heinrich Kuhl, back in 1817, who named them in honour of the French naturalist Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton.

Pictured Left-Right: (1) Templemore/Thurles Municipal Engineer Mr Michael Tierney: (2) A Large Hibernation Colony Bat Box; (3) A Daubenton’s Bat.

The Daubenton’s Bat (Myotis daubentonii.  Irish-Ialtóg uisce.)

The Daubenton’s bat is a Eurasian bat with short ears and is thankfully considered to be increasing their population growth in many areas. More often called the ‘water bat’, this species is easily recognised at dusk, flying just a few centimetres above the surface of our River Suir, latter which runs parallel slightly to the east of this new car park amenity. This species of bat can be spotted skimming above the surface in search of midges, caddisflies, moths, beetles, daddy long-legs, mayflies, earwigs, and spiders, and may even scoop prey from the very surface of the water. While other bats feed over and around water; none hold the same close association with water as do Daubenton’s, which can even swim, should it accidentally end up in the water.

While none of these bats have been identified as currently residing in the new car park’s immediate vicinity, new Hibernation Colony Bat Boxes have been installed just in case, since the area is part of their rich hunting ground.  Bats never settle individually, preferring to live in colonies, so these boxes, high in the trees, now allow for large numbers of bats to congregate together, in a dry, safe place and are ideal for use as bat nurseries for their young.

Bats hibernate in the wintertime. This is necessary since there are not many insects available to eat during our Irish winters. When they hibernate, their heartbeat slows down, while their body temperature is also lowered. This helps them to save their energy and survive a cold winter.

Yes, we as humans remain the minds and the stewards of our everyday living world, and to avoid a catastrophic loss of biodiversity, we must fully realise that our own ultimate future, as living human beings, also depends upon our greater understanding of the natural environment and where necessary we must allocate and learn to share ecological real estate.