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Thurles – Looking Back.

Cathedral Street, Thurles, (formerly East Main Street, Thurles), at the junction of (left – right) Mitchel Street (formerly Quarry Street); St. Mary’s Avenue (formerly Church Lane); and Kickham Street (formerly Pike Street or “The Pike”).

Picture left above shows farmers lining up to sell their wool to purchasers Ryan’s (Brewery Stores) on east Main Street Thurles.
Picture right above shows East Main Street, today (December 30th 2020) renamed Cathedral Street, Thurles.

Sheep numbers grew significantly here in Ireland from some 2 million in 1848, towards the end of the Great Famine period; to 3.6m at the end of 2014. Land normally ploughed decreased almost by half within the same period, up until 1916, while land in pasture increased to double for grazing animals.

In hilly, mountainous areas, the selected breeds were prominently Blackface Mountain ewes and Cheviots, well able to survive on various and difficult terrains.

However, farmers, occupying the rich farmlands of Tipperary (Golden Vale), kept sheep for two main products, meat (mutton) and wool, thus reducing their dependence on the potato crop as their staple diet, towards the end of the 1800’s. Both mutton, wool and live sheep, in large numbers, were successfully exported to Britain.

Photograph on the left above was probably taken in the early years of 1900. The bright sunshine to the rear suggests the exposure was made mid-morning, towards the end of June when all sheep shearing was concluded. I base this observance on the fact that from June 1st in Tipperary, sheep were in the past, generally seen as ready to shear, with summer temperatures increasing.


Ireland’s Water Quality Needs To Be Better Protected

River Suir at Barry’s Bridge, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Photo: G. Willoughby
  • Just over half of Irish surface waters are in a satisfactory condition.
  • Nutrient concentrations in waters are too high and the trends are going in the wrong direction.
  • Nitrate concentrations are now increasing in nearly half of our river and groundwater sites.
  • Phosphate levels are increasing in a quarter of river sites.
  • Concentrations of nitrate are highest in the south and south east of the country where the main source is agriculture.
  • Delivering on the key objectives of Ireland’s River Basin Management Plan and targeted action at local water catchment level is key to improving water quality.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published the Water Quality Indicators Report 2019 which provides an assessment on Ireland’s surface water and groundwater quality.

The main threat to water quality is the presence of too much nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which come primarily from agriculture and waste water. Over one third of rivers, and a quarter of lakes are failing to meet their environmental quality standards for nutrients. Over one fifth of our groundwater, estuarine and coastal water bodies have high nitrogen concentrations.

Just over half of rivers and lakes are in high or good biological quality. The rivers surveyed in 2019 have shown more improvements than declines overall, which is welcome, however further action is needed to return waters to a satisfactory condition.

Commenting on the assessment, EPA Director Dr Micheál Lehane said:

“Clean, healthy water is essential for our economy, our aquatic wildlife and for our health and well-being. However, this assessment shows that our water environment remains under considerable pressure from human activities. Of most concern is the continued upward trend of nitrate concentrations. The problem is particularly evident in the south and southeast of the country where the main source is agriculture.
We need urgent and effective action to ensure that the decline in water quality is halted and to restore those water bodies that have declined in quality.”

Ms Mary Gurrie (Programme Manager), continued:

“Elevated nutrient concentrations are contributing to pollution in our freshwaters and estuaries and causing difficulties with drinking water standards in some areas. Urgent action is now needed to reduce nutrient inputs from agriculture. Measures need to be targeted at the critical source areas where nitrogen and phosphate problems occur. There is a lot of good work happening at a local level to improve water quality and this needs to be scaled up to deliver the improvements needed.

The River Basin Management Plan, the new Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan and the full implementation of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy offer significant opportunities to achieve improvements in water quality, while delivering multiple benefits for the environment including for climate, air quality and biodiversity.”

The report is available on the EPA website HERE, and the accompanying data used in the water quality assessments are available HERE.

An infographic is also available.


FSAI Recall Processed Chicken & Salmon

As a precaution and further to Food Safety Authority Ireland (Food Alert 2020.55), Dunnes Stores and Lidl have yesterday recalled its Cooked Chicken Pieces and Cooked Chicken Tikka Pieces; due to the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

The Batch Code: P3629 and P4629; with a ‘Use by date’ of Oct. 2nd 2020, will see the removal of the implicated batches by all retailers and a ‘point-of-sale recall notices’ erected in all stores where the affected batches were being offered for sale.

Today the Food Safety Authority Ireland (Food Alert 2020.61) has also recalled a batch (Batch Code: 208; use-by date: 31.09.2020) of Coastguard Seafoods Smoked Salmon also due to the detection of Listeria monocytogenes.

Symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. In rare cases, the infection can be more severe, causing serious complications.

Some people are more vulnerable to Listeria monocytogenes infections, including pregnant women, babies, and people with weakened immune systems, including the elderly.

The incubation period (time between initial infection and first symptoms appearing) is on average 3 weeks but can range between 3 and 70 days.

In all cases consumers are strongly advised not to eat the implicated batches.


Recall Of Glensallagh Roast Chicken Breast Pieces

A batch of roast chicken breast pieces has been recalled over fears of a dangerous bacteria that can cause serious complications to pregnant women, babies and especially people with weakened immune systems, including the elderly.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and Faughan Foods (O’Brien Fine Foods) have recalled a batch of Glensallagh Family Pack Roast Chicken Breast Pieces. The recall is due to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

Consumers are being warned not to eat batch P3527 with use by date of 13th Sep. 2020 of chicken, which has been sold in Lidl stores across Ireland.

Point-of-sale recall notices will be displayed in stores supplied with the implicated batch.

The FSAI have warned that Listeria monocytogenes infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness.

In rare cases, the infection can be more severe, causing serious complications.


Jackie Cahill Not Considered For Agriculture Portfolio

Tipperary TD Mr Jackie Cahill

As we expected, it has been confirmed this afternoon that Fianna Fáil’s Charlie McConalogue has been nominated as the new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Donegal TD now succeeds Mr Dara Calleary, who resigned last month over his attendance at the Oireachtas golf society dinner, latter held in Galway, which also led to the resignation of EU Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan.

Tipperary Fianna Fáil TD Mr Jackie Cahill, who had expressed a serious interest in this post; using press, social media and radio interviews, was not considered for this Agriculture portfolio.

Mr Cahill, was one of the Irish racegoers who returned from the Cheltenham racing festival in the United Kingdom, having socialised in an area which had held some 250,000 other racegoers over the Cheltenham festival event.

Like other Irish lovers of the ‘Sport of Kings’, Mr Cahill did not have to be screened for Coronavirus COVID-19, when he and others travelled through our Irish ports and airports and was foolishly not asked to self-isolate.
Mr Brian Kavanagh (Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland) has since admitted that, with the benefit of hindsight, the Cheltenham festival should not have taken place.

After all, only 81 persons had been at the Oireachtas Golf Society dinner in Clifden, Co. Galway on the 19th August 2020, when Mr Phil Hogan had to retire, as did then Minister for Agriculture Mr Dara Calleary TD.