Local Weather

real feel: -2°C
wind speed: 3 m/s WNW
sunrise: 8:14 am
sunset: 4:23 pm


New Trees On Liberty Square, Thurles, Offer A Certain Continental Charm.

With the relocation of seven (7) new ‘Italian Alder’ (Alnus Cordata), trees, newly sown on Liberty Square, Thurles; these deciduous trees, native to high elevation areas in Southern Italy, are sure to bring a certain continental charm to our town centre.

Four of seven ‘Italian Alder’ trees sown this week on Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Pic. G. Willoughby.

Growing to a height of up to 25m (82ft) and with a spread of some 8m (26ft); same trees are native to southern Italy.
Italian Alder is a tall, fast-growing, deciduous tree of conical habit, with the flowers appearing before the leaves.
The slender cylindrical male catkins are pendulous, reddish and up to 10 cm (4 inches) long. Pollination is in early spring, before the leaves emerge. The female catkins are ovoid, when mature in autumn, dark green to brown in colour, similar to some conifer cones. The small winged seeds disperse through the winter, leaving the old woody, blackish cones on the tree for up to a year afterwards.

The glossy, mid-green leaves themselves are heart-shaped with very finely serrated edges and stay on the tree as late as December, especially in milder areas. Italian alder is highly wind-resistant and tolerant of very poor soils, as it is able to obtain nitrogen from the air. It will also tolerate high levels of pollution and heavily compacted soils, making it a useful urban tree.

With the occasional uncouth barbarian often visiting our town, usually at night, hopefully these trees will be protected soon by metal tree guards, at least until roots properly take hold.


Large Decrease In Air Pollution From Traffic In 2020 Due To COVID-19.

  • While air quality in Ireland in 2020 was generally good there are worrying localised issues.
  • Air pollution from traffic fell at all monitoring stations, particularly at urban roadside locations, as a consequence of reduced traffic volumes due to Covid-19 restrictions.
  • However, Ireland was above World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines for particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ozone at 52 monitoring sites, mostly due to the burning of solid fuel in our villages, towns and smaller cities.
  • Fine particulate matter from the burning of solid fuel remains the biggest contributor to poor air quality in Ireland, responsible for an estimated 1,300 premature deaths per year.
  • The choices we make in how we heat our homes and how we travel directly impacts the quality of the air we breathe.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today launched its annual air quality report ‘Air Quality in Ireland 2020′. The report shows that, while air quality in Ireland is generally good and compares favourably with many of our European neighbours, there are worrying localised issues which lead to poor air quality.

EPA monitoring shows that Ireland was compliant with EU legal limits in 2020, largely assisted by the significant reduction in traffic due to Covid-19 restrictions. Air pollution from traffic – nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – fell at all monitoring stations, but most notably at urban-traffic locations where levels fell by up to 50%.

However, air quality levels were above the WHO stricter guideline values at 52 monitoring stations, largely due to the burning of solid fuel for home heating.

Air quality has an impact on people’s health and there are an estimated 1,300 premature deaths in Ireland per year due to levels of fine fine particles (particulate matter) in our air. Levels of this pollutant are of growing concern and are particularly high during the winter months, when people’s use of solid fuels such as coal, turf and wood impacts negatively on-air quality, especially in villages, towns and smaller cities.

The EPA air quality report notes that any movement towards cleaner home heating choices and less smoky solid fuel choices will result in a subsequent improvement on air quality.

Launching the report, Air Quality in Ireland 2020, Dr Micheál Lehane, Director of the EPA’s Office of Radiation Protection & Environmental Monitoring, said,
“The EPA’s air quality monitoring carried out in 2020 has shown that there were dramatic and immediate decreases in air pollution in our urban areas due to reduced traffic volumes associated with COVID-19 restrictions. As we now start to travel more we must not lose sight of the obvious link between our journey choices and levels of traffic derived air pollutants. Pollutants from traffic have a negative impact on people’s health and our actions, as individuals, do impact the air we breathe.

Pat Byrne, EPA Programme Manager, said,
“Ireland still has issues with poor air quality due to the burning of solid fuel in our villages, towns and smaller cities. Ireland is above WHO air quality guideline values at many locations and it is imperative that we each, as individuals, make cleaner air choices when deciding how to heat our homes, as this can improve our local air quality and have associated health benefits.”

The Government has announced that new regulations on the use of solid fuels will come into force in 2022 – all coal products sold will be required to be low-smoke and all wood sold for immediate use must have a moisture content of 25 per cent or less. This is a positive step for air quality, which will need to be supported by clear communications to ensure public engagement and the best outcome for air quality and health.

The ‘ABC for Cleaner Air’ campaign, launched by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, highlights some simple steps we can all make and help reduce pollution from solid fuels. The EPA’s home heating infographic also identifies what changes people can make to home heating choices to improve air quality.

The ‘Air Quality in Ireland 2020’ report is available on the EPA website. The EPA continually monitors air quality across Ireland and provides the air quality index for health and real-time results online HERE.
Results are updated hourly on the website, and people can log on at any time to check whether the current air quality is good, fair or poor.

Further information: Niamh Hatchell/Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office: 053-91 70770 (24 hours) and media@epa.ie


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.


TUS Tipperary Campuses Awarded ‘Green Flag’.

TUS Tipperary Campuses awarded Green Flag as world leaders gather for COP26.

As world leaders gathered for COP26 in Glasgow, the Tipperary campuses of the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, gathered to raise the An Taisce Green Flag in Clonmel and Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Pictured L-R in Thurles: Mr Michael John O’Mahony (An Taisce Environmental Education Unit), Seamus Hoyne (Head of TUS Thurles campus) and Professor Vincent Cunnane (President of TUS).

The green flag, [which was presented today (Tuesday) to students and staff at the TUS Thurles Campus, and yesterday (Monday) to staff and students at the Clonmel Digital Campus,] recognises the efforts of the campus communities in reducing waste and increasing recycling as part of the Green Campus Programme.

The programme is an international environmental education and award scheme that promotes long-term, whole institution action for the environment, and empowers both students and staff to create a more balanced campus community, by reducing environmental impacts and associated costs.

Congratulating the staff and students of both campuses, President of TUS Professor Vincent Cunnane, said that TUS is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which underpins the strategy of the Thurles Campus.

Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “This Green Flag is a physical demonstration of our commitment to the SDGs and raising it today is a great milestone. It is also fitting that we are raising this Green Flag in the first week of COP26. The climate crisis and biodiversity crisis is challenging all leaders in society to radically consider how we can address these issues. However, there are immense opportunities in the future as we adjust our technologies, behaviour and economies to ensure we have a sustainable world in which we can live, work and play. TUS Thurles campus and Clonmel campus can visibly demonstrate that we are taking action.”

Director of the An Taisce Environmental Education Unit Dr Michael John O’Mahony, also congratulated the TUS Green-Campus Committee for initiating an outstanding programme on site in Thurles and Clonmel. He stated “The long-term commitment of staff and students is clear to see. There are numerous best practice examples taking place. These are especially evident in links to the learning on campus and utilising the campus as a living lab. The student projects and annual green weeks are outstanding. We look forward to watching how the Green-Campus journey in TUS develops in the coming years. We are delighted to acknowledge and recognise TUS Tipperary on their Green-Campus journey”.

Meanwhile TUS Lecturer, Department of Applied Science and TUS Green Campus Secretary Mr Kevin Healion, was setting his sights on the future of the Green Campus Programme – biodiversity. He stated “Every year I am amazed at the energy, ideas and skills that our students bring. I’m delighted to see the student involvement deepening with students doing work placements and now final year projects on our next theme of biodiversity. I think that’s a theme which has wide appeal and where the Thurles and Clonmel campuses can really shine, fortunate as we are with large land areas with tree, hedge and grassland habitats. My wish is for TUS to demonstrate best practice in how campus developments can integrate habitat protection for multiple benefits – wildlife and carbon storage, but also environmental appreciation, mental health and recreation through for example a combined walking / biodiversity trail.”

Head of the TUS Thurles campus, Mr Seamus Hoyne thanked everyone for their participation in the project, stating, “The Green Campus flag is a physical manifestation of the efforts of the students and staff on the Thurles and Clonmel campus to address the sustainability agenda. The strategy for the Thurles campus is focused on ensuring that everything we do contributes positively to the sustainability agenda. Our programmes will produce graduates and leaders who can make a difference, our campuses will be demonstrators and exemplars and our research will drive new innovations.”


Free WEEE Collection Day – November 6th – Cabragh Business Park, Thurles.

Free WEEE Collection Day – November 6th – Thurles.

Thurles householders are being invited to bring their electrical and electronic waste to a free WEEE recycling collection day at Thurles Recycling Centre on next Saturday, November 6th, situated at the Cabragh Business Park in Thurles, from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Any household item with a plug or a battery will be accepted free of charge, including old washing machines, TVs, toasters, kettles, electronic tools, toys, computer cables or any IT equipment, mobile phones, remote controls and watches.

Due to the Covid pandemic, there are a lot of household items lying about in sheds and garages and here now is an opportunity to recycle same for free.

NB: Due to public health guidelines, with regards to Covid-19 virus restrictions; those attending are asked to observe strict adherence to social distancing and face covering.