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Ireland Continues To Be In Non-Compliance With EU National Emissions Ceiling Directive EPA043112.

  • Ammonia emissions have been non-compliant for 7 out of the last 9 years, driven by the growth of the agriculture sector.
  • Ireland can achieve compliance with the 2030 ceiling for ammonia through full implementation of planned ammonia reduction measures.
  • Ireland is compliant for 2019 with the emissions ceilings under the NEC Directive for nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide.
  • Full implementation of planned policies and measures, including those in the Climate Action Plan that target greenhouse gas emissions, will reduce emissions of air pollutants. Further action may also be required for some pollutants to meet tougher 2030 EU emission limits.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today published a compliance assessment for emissions of five key air pollutants which impact air quality, health and the environment. The pollutants, which are subject to current and future emissions ceilings under the EU National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive, are : –

  • ammonia,
  • non-methane volatile organic compounds,
  • sulphur dioxide,
  • nitrogen oxides and
  • fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

Emissions of other air pollutants and heavy metals not subject to NEC Directive ceilings are also reported on.

This latest report shows that, despite decreasing in 2019, ammonia emissions are still non-compliant with the EU ceiling and have now been non-compliant for 7 out of the last 9 years. Agriculture dominates emissions of ammonia (99%), which arise from animal manures and nitrogen fertiliser. However, there are some encouraging signs of abatement measures being adopted at farm level, with approximately 16% of cattle slurries applied using low emission spreading techniques, avoiding over 3,000 tonnes of ammonia emissions. There was also a four-fold increase, albeit from a low base, in the use of inhibited urea fertiliser products in 2019.

Emissions of nitrogen oxides – primarily from transport and diesel fuelled vehicles in particular – decreased by 9.2% in 2019 as vehicle NOx abatement technologies continue to improve. Emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds also decreased slightly (1.1%) in 2019. These mostly arise from spirit production in the food and beverage industry, animal manures and fertilisers.

There was a 13.1% decrease in emissions of fine particulate matter due to lower heating requirements in 2019, while emissions of sulphur dioxide continued on a downward trend. Ireland is compliant for 2019 with the emissions ceilings under the NEC Directive for nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds and sulphur dioxide, whilst a ceiling for fine particulate matter doesn’t come into force until 2020.

Ms Sharon Finegan, (Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability) stated:

“Emissions of all air pollutants need to reduce further to protect air quality and health and achieve compliance with EU emissions limits. The National Clean Air Strategy, which is currently being finalised, needs to set out the proposed measures to reduce emissions.
It is encouraging to see ammonia emissions beginning to be addressed at farm level. The assessment shows that Ireland can comply with the 2030 ammonia ceiling but this requires full implementation of measures in the Department of Agriculture’s AgClimatise strategy, and the National Air Pollution Control Programme. ”

Emissions of Sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, ammonia and nitrogen oxides are projected to be compliant with more challenging EU emission ceilings that will apply for 2030, provided planned measures are fully implemented.

Mr Stephen Treacy (EPA Senior Manager) stated:

“Ireland has seen big reductions in the emissions of many air pollutants over the last thirty years, including a 94 per cent fall in Sulphur dioxide emissions and an over 60 per cent drop in fine particulate matter emissions. Further emissions reductions are possible with the right measures in place.
These measures are far reaching and require big changes in the Agriculture, Transport and Energy sectors including switching to cleaner fuels, technology improvements in slurry application and a significant uptake of electric vehicles. Further measures are required to reduce Non- Methane Volatile Organic Compounds emissions to meet the 2030 ceiling for this pollutant.”

These figures take account of the immediate short-term impact of COVID-19 in 2020 and in the first half of 2021.

For further detail on these figures, see the EPA report Ireland’s Air Pollutant Emissions 1990-2030.


Former Bóthar CEO Accused Of Misappropriating Charity Funds.

The Third World development organisation and charity Bóthar, of whom the late great Mr Thomas Joseph (T.J.) Maher, Castlemoyle, Boherlahan, Cashel, Co Tipperary was a founder member, has claimed before the High Court that its former CEO Mr David Moloney has misappropriated hundreds of thousands of euro, donated to the organisation, for his own and his associate’s personal use.

Mr David Moloney, former CEO Bóthar.

On Thursday last Bóthar, whose activities include aiding poor farmers in developing nations through donations of livestock, succeeded in secured a temporary High Court injunction, thus freezing the assets of Mr David Moloney, latter who in February last resigned his post as the charities CEO.

In the High Court Ms Justice Nuala Bulter ordered that Mr Moloney must not reduce his assets below a value of €465,000.

It should be noted that Mr David Moloney who has worked with Bóthar since 1995 and was CEO of the organisation for eight years, and who currently resides at Newport, West Co. Tipperary; strongly denies any allegations of wrongdoing.

However, Bóthar claim that an ongoing investigation into his conduct has revealed that he is guilty of a shocking breach of trust and an appalling dereliction of his duty; not just to Bóthar as an organisation but also to the beneficiaries of the charity.

Mr Frank Beatty SC, appearing with Mr Frank Crean Bl, acting on behalf of Bóthar, stated in court that Bóthar investigations show that at the very least, some €465,000 of monies donated to the charity had been misappropriated by Mr Maloney.

Counsel further stated that arising out of current investigation it is alleged that between 2013 and 2019, the accused Mr Moloney withdrew €192,000 of money, donated to Bóthar, claiming it was paid to a Mission run by the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Sisters in Tanzania, East Africa.

Bóthar claim to have consulted with the administrator in charge at the African mission, who informed them that the religious order was never in receipt of any money from Mr Moloney or indeed the charity Bóthar, itself.

Counsel for Bóthar further stated that Mr Moloney arranged that Bóthar make three payments, totalling €127,000, to a company called Agricultural Innovation Consultants Limited, for services it provided in relation to purported projects in Rwanda. These payments appear to not be recorded in the accounts of A.I.C. Ltd, which was incorporated in 2018, and has since been dissolved. Bóthar now believe the projects in Rwanda were falsified, and it does not know what became of the funding.

Ms Justice Nuala Bulter granted Bóthar the temporary freezing order on an ex-parte basis, where only one side was represented in court. She also gave Bóthar permission to seek orders requiring the defendant in this case to provide a list of the full value or interest he holds in any assets.

The judge also gave Bóthar permission to seek an order requiring Mr Moloney to provide details of all funds donated to the charity, that it is now alleged he used for his own benefit or the benefit of other parties.

Following the decision by Bóthar to commence High Court proceedings, the charity has decided to cease all of its fundraising activities with immediate effect.


Animal Carcasses Found Dumped Near Thurles In Co. Tipperary.

Gardaí in Co. Tipperary are currently investigating the dumping of 15 calf carcasses, which have been found located on isolated bogland, partially covered by surface bog water.

Four of the calves are understood to have been discovered close to a popular walking trail, near Derryville, close to the village of Glengoole, Thurles; on property owned by Bord Na Móna.

Farmers are required, by law, to pay a maximum fee of between €30 and €100, depending on the age of any dead animal requiring removal by recognised knackery operators, under the Department of Agriculture’s Fallen Animal Scheme.

We understand the removal of the carcasses is being organised by Tipperary County Council, under the guidance of the Department of Agriculture and local investigating Gardaí.


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.