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Environment

Fears of devastation for East Clare if abstraction approved

FEARS have been expressed the proposed water abstraction of more than 330 million litres of water from Lough Derg to Dublin could result in devastating impact for tourism-related business in East Clare. Speaking at a recent council briefing by Irish Water officials, Councillor Tony O’Brien asked if the proposed water abstraction project is a “done deal” or is it still in abeyance. Describing the River Shannon as the greatest natural resource in East Clare, he warned if Irish Water’s projections and forecasts are wrong, then the impact will be devastating and could “close the place down”. Commenting on the drought situation in Lough Derg in 2018, he said harbours and inlets couldn’t be accessed for tourism purposes for boat hire. “I dread to think if water abstraction was in place that time what the consequences would be. I am hugely concerned and so are my constituents. “Nothing will convince me that abstracting water from the River Shannon south of Killaloe …

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Climate Caravan to highlight eco woes on Clare to Kerry trek

A NINE-DAY walk by a group of environmental activists to draw attention to the climate and biodiversity crisis will begin at Ennis this Saturday, April 9. The Climate Justice Caravan will be walking across Munster, from Ennis to Tarbert, for climate justice and the rights of nature taking in a number of sites in the Banner County facing environmental challenges. The group is made up of members from, and supported by, the Glasgow Agreement, Extinction Rebellion, Futureproof Clare, Rights of Nature Ireland, Cappagh Farmers Support Group, Keep Tulla Untouched, Safety Before LNG, Friends of Ardee Bog, Irish Seed Savers Association, Ecojustice Ireland, Unite Community Climate Justice branch, and Cultivate. The Caravan will walk from Ennis to Tulla to Scarriff, until it meets the River Shannon at Killaloe. It will then proceed alongside the river through Clonlara, Shannon Banks, Mungret, Curraghchase, Aughinish Alumina, Knockpatrick, and finally Tarbert. Along the nine-day journey, the Climate Justice Caravan will be visiting locations linked to …

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Ennis hosts launch of Tidy Towns 2022 competition

REIGNING Tidy Towns champion Ennis was the location this morning for the launch of the 2022 competition with Minister Heather Humphreys doing the honours. The Minister for Rural and Community Development was joined by Managing Director of SuperValu, Mr. Ian Allen to launch the competition which is sponspored by the supermarket chain. Speaking at the launch of the competition in Clare’s county town this morning, Minister Humphreys said, “It is wonderful to be here in Ennis, Ireland’s Tidiest Town, to launch the 2022 SuperValu TidyTowns competition. “Seeing the competition back to its normal cycle is very welcome news and no doubt thousands of TidyTowns volunteers across the country are thrilled to see the competition back in full swing. “TidyTowns groups have shown great strength in recent times and have continued to put their shoulder to the wheel in keeping our towns and villages and indeed the country, looking its best, when we needed it most.” Minister Humphreys continued, “My Department …

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Council waits on landowners before progressing coastal works

COASTAL protection works in Quilty will progress when signed agreement from the parties is returned to Clare County Council, local councillors have been told.  The matter was raised at the March meeting of the West Clare Municipal District by Councillor PJ Kelly who sought a report on the proposed works at Clohaninchy. “For a parish like Kilmurry Ibrikane who are in the habit of winning, I’m disappointed this has taken so long,” Councillor Kelly said. “It is a longstanding problem.” A written response to the motion came from Gráinne Reddan, Senior Executive Engineer (SEE) with the Project Management Office (PMO). “To progress the Cloughaninchy Flood Relief Scheme, Clare County Council have been negotiating with landowners over the last number of years, which has proved very time-consuming,” the reply said. “Landowner agreements were issued in February 2022 and Clare County Council await the return of signed agreements from all parties. Provided that Clare County Council receive signed agreements, Clare County Council …

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Small changes can have big cumulative effects on environment

In the second instalment of her series on climate change actions, Keir McNamara, acupuncturist, sports injury specialist and former agricultural scientist tells Bridget Ginnity that taking a small bit of personal responsibility can have a big effect cumulatively in the quest for sustainable living THE past president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, made an impression on me. He donated 90% of his salary to charity, lived on a bit of a farm outside the city instead of the presidential mansion, drove an old Volkswagen Beetle and said “I can live well with what I have.” Travelling over the years, I saw how people in third world countries make do with modest amounts, which showed me that there is no need to have as much as we do. I also witnessed at first-hand how human intervention has caused environmental disasters. I spent time in Australia in the mid-nineties and saw how removing natural vegetation for agricultural land indirectly caused high levels of …

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Plastic finding its way into fish flesh and our food chain

PLASTICS found in fish are entering the human food chain, research supported by a Mountshannon academic has confirmed. Dr Alvin Orbaek White, who works at Swansea University, has just released the findings of a project he supported in Barcelona, which involved a boat-builder and marine biologist catching and examining fish for the presence of plastics. The work was inspired by an idea from artist and boat builder, Mark Redden, with laboratory experiments and scuba diving instructions from marine biologist, Charlie Gaborit. With an estimated 51 trillion micro plastic pieces in the sea, the team of young entrepreneurs and scientists went out in a traditional currach as part of a short scale experiment looking at how micro plastics affect fish stocks and can then enter the human food chain. The work was sponsored by Dr Orbaek White’s start-up TrimTabs. The team’s work was project managed and filmed by Clément Esso and a video, just released, graphically illustrates the plastics problem. “For …

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Have a whale of a time at special west Clare wildlife event

AN UPDATE on the 145 dolphins that are unique to the Shannon Estuary will be presented this Friday night in Kilkee. Members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), as well as their supporters, will gather at Cultúrlann Sweeney for a discussion that will cover the life marine life off the Clare coast, including humpback whales, fin whales and basking sharks. ‘The Wonderful Wildlife of West Clare’ is open to all and bookings can be made on the IWDG website. Those attending will see incredible new images of sea creatures off the Clare coast, including drone footage shot by Dr Simon Berrow off Doonbeg. “Fin whales are the second largest marine creatures ever,” he explained. “They’re big beasts and can be seen from the shore. I captured drone footage off Doonbeg which is simply wonderful.” IWDG has spent the past there decades monitoring the estuary’s dolphins and are well placed to track their daily lives. “Mags Daly is Project …

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330-million-year-old fossil burrows discovered in Clare

THE antiquity of life in county Clare has been underlined this week with the discovery of abandoned fossil burrows dating back 330 million years. The burrows, which date some 100 million years before the appearance of the first dinosaurs, have been found in limestone rock on the coast of Doolin in County Clare. Dr. Eamon Doyle, geologist for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and Clare County Council, who made the discovery, says the burrows were excavated by marine creatures in a very shallow sea and are the oldest known occurrence of this type of fossil burrow anywhere in the world. At that time Clare was located near the Equator and looked and felt a lot like the tropical Bahamas today. Dr. Doyle explained, “The abandoned burrows are filled with coarse sand made of fossil debris and were most likely filled in during a storm event that moved large amounts of coastal sand around. This storm may …

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