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Clare’s young scientists impressing once again

Over 1,100 school students are in Dublin’s RDS for the 59th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE). The prestigious event showcases research and innovation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), is in-person this year for the first time since 2020, following two successful virtual exhibitions. At the heart of the exhibition are the 550 projects from 212 schools which span the categories of Technology; Biological and Ecological Sciences; Social and Behavioural Sciences; and Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Following judging by the 80 plus-person judging panel, the BT Young Scientist(s) & Technologist(s) of the Year 2023 will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday at 5.30pm. Below, we profile all of the Clare entries in this year’s competition. Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna has nine projects participating in this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition. Project: Does damaging Kelp affect its breaking strength? Category: Biological and ecological sciences Student: Ella Mooney …

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Gort Biogas Concern has organised a major public meeting to discuss An Bord Pleanála's granting of permission for a plant close to the town.

Biogas plant planning permission branded ‘absolute disaster’

AHEAD of a major public meeting  to discuss the granting of permission for a biogas plant in Gort, campaigners described the news as an “absolute disaster” for South Galway.  At the end of last month, An Bord Pleanála granted permission for the facility which will be less than one kilometre from the town centre, covering a ten hectare site. While Galway County Council turned down proposals from Sustainable Bio Energy Ltd, the appeals board overturned that decision and has given the green light, subject to 22 conditions.  Gort Biogas Concern Group organised a public meeting on Wednesday (January 4) to examine options, including a judicial review. “In terms of health issues, traffic issues, environmental issues, we have grave concerns,” group member Ciarán O’Donnell said ahead of the gathering. “The main thing is that this is a 25 acres massive industrial plant, 900 metres away from Gort town centre, ten metres from Gort river. It’s 100 metres from the nearest resident …

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Ennis in top five cleanest towns according to IBAL report

ENNIS remains among the cleanest towns in Ireland with the county town claiming a top five spot in the national IBAL litter league. The final litter survey of 2022 by business group Irish Business Against Litter shows Ennis in fifth place in the ranking of 40 towns and cities nationwide. Three quarters of Ireland’s cities and towns were deemed ‘clean’ in 2022, compared to just over half in the previous year. Naas was again top of the rankings. An Taisce conducts the surveys on behalf of IBAL. Its report for Ennis stated, “A very strong performance by a former IBAL Winner – the location of the IBAL sculpture is the impeccably presented and maintained at Abbey Street Car Park. “Other top-ranking sites included the three approach roads and O’Connell Street, Market Place / Market Street Lower and Monastery Park.  Gort Road Business Park and Ennis Bus / Train Station were very much deserving of the top litter grade this time …

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Let’s have the right trees please, says Clare councillor

IT wasn’t Christmas trees that were on the mind of Councillor Mary Howard at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, but the damage trees can cause to urban localities. Councillor Howard asked the local authority to produce a list of trees suitable for planting in an urban setting at the monthly meeting of the council. This follows her highlighting of the concerns for residents of Kincora Park last month of the “dangerous condition” of the footpath leading up to St Joseph’s Church which was blamed on “vigorous root growth”. Speaking at the December meeting of the Ennis Municipal District Councillor Howard said she was a “real fan of trees”. However she pointed out that they can cause problems. “There can be damage caused during strong winds, fruit falling, roots lifting footpaths, obstructing sight lines, leaves blocking gutters,” she said. She explained that having suitable trees planted would help solve some of these issues. “Putting the right trees in …

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Council ‘regularly checks’ solid fuel retailers amid air concerns

CLARE County Council carries out regular checks on retailers of solid fuels to ensure they comply with regulations surrounding the selling of smoky fuels, a spokesperson for the council has said. Responding to concerns highlighted about the quality of air in Ennis, Clare County Council stated, “At present, Ireland has an established network of stations to monitor air quality which are configured to meet the requirements of the European Union CAFE (Clean Air For Europe) Directive. “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the designated competent authority for the implementation of all Irish and European Union (EU) ambient air quality legislation. “The EPA is also the specified monitoring and reporting body under this legislation. The EPA manages and co-ordinates current ambient air monitoring activities in co-operation with local authorities and other state bodies, complying with strict sampling and reporting requirements. “Currently there is 1 No. CAFE Air Monitoring site situated in Ennis in the former Ennis Town Council complex in Drumbiggle. “The …

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‘Dangerously high’ levels of air pollution in Ennis

AIR pollution in Ennis has been described as “dangerously high” with levels of particulate matter associated with burning solid fuels more than seven times higher than Shanghai in recent days. Community group Better Ennis are among those voicing concerns about the “health hazard Ennis residents and visitors are exposed to”, while during one evening a UCC professor took to social media urging Ennis residents not to go outside. Green Party Senator Roísín Garvey says, “People are afraid to go for a walk in the evening because of the quality of the air.” Ennis Fine Gael Councillor Johnny Flynn is seeking a report on air quality in Ennis from Clare County Council to be included in the monthly management report, and is reiterating calls for an Ennis Clean Air Strategy. “Short term poor air quality events or spikes have very significant adverse health impacts, they result in significant  spikes in hospital admissions for up to two days after such events,” he stated. A …

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Consultation begins on second proposed wind farm led by Coillte

COILLTE is planning a second East Clare wind farm development, as part of a joint venture to develop a renewable energy generation facility between Broadford and Sixmilebridge.  The company, together with the ESB, operate as FuturEnergy Ireland. They are the developers of the 19-turbine Carrownagowan Wind Farm, on the slopes of Slieve Bearnagh, which recently secured planning permission directly from An Bórd Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act. Their latest Clare venture is the Knockshanvo Wind Farm, whose precise specifications have not yet been outlined. The company has promised “a comprehensive community engagement programme” as two liaison officers begin to introduce the project in the locality. A website for the project estimates that the application will be submitted, as Strategic Infrastructure, at the end of 2023.  According to the company, the proposed site is located around 3km south of Broadford and 4km north-east of Sixmilebridge. The wind farm project is described as being “in the early stages of development”. A …

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Record daily minimum temperature for November in Clare

SHANNON weather station has recorded a new temperature record for a November day. On Friday, November 11, the temperature at the Met Éireann weather station in Shannon never dropped below 14.9 degrees celsius. This represented a new November highest daily minimum temperature record for Ireland. It was an exceptionally warm month of November in general at Shannon, well ahead of the long term average for the month. It was also particularly sunny for the time of year, with 71 hours and 36 minutes of sunshine over the course of the month, 21% more than the long term November average. On the negative side, the amount of rainfall for the month in Shannon was 44% greater than the long term average. The Met Éireann report for the month said, “November 2022 was a mild and windy month, dominated by Atlantic low pressure systems to the west of Ireland, with the airflow mostly between southerly and south-westerly. “This set-up steered many tropical …

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