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Tag Archives: Shannon Estuary

Fears for estuary dolphins’ health

ALTHOUGH a report published by the Zoological Society in London has found that the effect of pollution on bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary is the lowest in Europe, Dr Simon Berrow of the Kilrush-based Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has expressed alarm at the level of pollution in the estuary. Levels are above the toxic threshold thought to impact on bottlenose dolphins’ health and reproduction. Information collected by the IWDG in Irish waters fed into the research led by Dr Paul Jepson of the Zoological Society. Dr Berrow, project manager with the IWDG and lecturer in applied freshwater and marine biology at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, was one of the co-authors in the study. “We provided samples from bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary for the study and, although concentrations in the Shannon dolphins were the lowest in Europe, the levels were still well above the toxicity threshold, which leads to serious impacts,” Dr Berrow said, adding that …

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OPW minister views estuary embankment breaches

THE Minister of State with Special Responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) has told The Clare Champion that separate minor work applications for farmers affected by flooding on the Fergus embankments and in Doonbeg will be dealt with, as quickly as possible, by his office. The maximum figure possible under each scheme is €500,000. Deputy Simon Harris was speaking during a visit to Clare on Tuesday, when he met with a farming delegation in Kildysart and visited some of the land affected by serious flooding in 2014. “I think they appreciate the frankness and the straight-forwardness of the procedure I have outlined to them. When I came to office and was made aware of these problems, the first thing I did was to bring all the people around the table together. Deputy Pat Breen has been on my case about this for quite a period of time,” he explained. “On March 10, I brought the IFA Clare chairman, …

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Not enough of a splash about Shannon Dolphins

THE founder of the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation (SDWF) has claimed West Clare tourism interests have failed to capitalise on the “unique resource” of the family of 140 dolphins that populate the Shannon Estuary. Dr Simon Berrow says this is despite a “20-year head-start”, while he is also fearful about the future of the dolphin monitoring centre in Kilrush, which has been operating for 22 years. The centre receives no funding, although it did in the past. “As a region, I think we’ve failed to make the most of what, to me, is a completely unique resource. Loop Head Tourism has done a fantastic job promoting Loop Head but the area doesn’t look any different to me from 20 years ago. The lighthouse is the lighthouse. It’s not unique. They are packaging it together in a lovely package but I still think the dolphins are our unique product. Nowhere else in Ireland has dolphins that are so accessible. Very …

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Frustrated farmer could lose 30 acres

A Ballynacally farmer has expressed his frustration at the lack of progress in repairing the Shannon Estuary banks along 30 acres of his land in Lisheen. Vincent O’Shea, who farms up to 120 acres, has been unable to cut silage on the affected land and has had to sell 30 cows. The land was badly flooded more than 12 months ago and he says that no progress has been made in the interim with regard to alleviating the problem. Two neighbouring farmers, John Slattery and Seán Carrig, are similarly affected. “The two sluices went in January of 2014. There is no one coming near us. They are saying they are doing this and doing that. Pat Breen (TD) reckons the council have the money but you ring the council and they say they have no more there for this. They have money for the tourists going to Lahinch and Kilkee but that’s no good to me. I can’t do any …

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Shannon Estuary energy hub plan

An ambitious new EU energy package could see the Shannon Estuary serve as an energy hub for Europe and save Irish householders money, according to Sean Kelly MEP. The Ireland South MEP welcomed the announcement of the Energy Union and called on member states to work to harmonise their national energy strategies for the benefit of the entire EU. “Increased EU energy cooperation will see us improve the security of our energy supply, increase our competitiveness, and move towards a low carbon system. An integrated energy market brings more competition and ultimately more affordable energy prices for European consumers”, said the MEP. “It is clear that we are far too dependent on unreliable external sources for our energy supply, particularly Russia. There is an urgent need to diversify our energy resources to ensure the European consumer is not adversely affected by geopolitical crises such as the one we have seen in Ukraine,” he said. Mr Kelly said increased efforts to …

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New international project to boost Shannon ports

The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) is lending full support to the Weastflow project , which aims to improve and enhance freight logistics in North West Europe, including the Shannon Estuary ports. The €9 million project is part-funded by the Interreg IVB NWE programme and involves 22 partners and 19 observers from countries including Ireland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the UK and China. The project will explore current freight logistics practices in North West Europe, identifying challenges and opportunities to improve freight flows and encourage more sustainable freight transport methods. President of the IRHA, Clare man, Eoin Gavin spoke at a recent Weastflow conference in Brussels to outline the Associations on-going efforts to support and promote sustainable transport in respect to the Limerick/Shannon gateway. During the course of his presentation, Mr Gavin highlighted the excellent opportunity for the area to position itself as the closest deep-sea port and international airport to North America. Mr Gavin stated after the event …

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Pauline heads Kilrush RNLI callout

Newly appointed lifeboat operations manager at Kilrush RNLI, Pauline Dunleavy, had her first callout in charge, when an alert was received on Sunday morning. The lifeboat was launched to reports that a plane flying overhead had observed an indication that a fire may have broken out in the cargo hold. In these circumstances it is standard procedure to launch the lifeboat and it gave Pauline a chance to see how fast the lifeboat can be launched and the response of the volunteers in times of emergency. The lifeboat was launched at 9.20am and kept a presence on the river before they learned that the flight, which was en route to France, had landed safely at Shannon Airport and they were stood down. Commenting on the callout, Pauline Dunleavy said, “During my first callout in this new role, it was great to see the lifeboat crew respond to an emergency from the other side. I had the opportunity to see the …

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Estuary land zoning builds ‘investor confidence’

Clare County Council says the zoning of more than 345 hectares of land along the Shannon Estuary will give ‘greater investor confidence’ for anyone considering large-scale marine related development proposals. Earlier this week the council’s elected members unanimously backed the move to incorporate the zoned lands into the Clare County Development Plan 2011-17 along with the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan (SIFP) for the Shannon Estuary, a major strategic plan for the future development and management of marine-related industry and tourism along Ireland’s largest estuary. The newly zoned lands relate to Strategic Development Locations (SDL) at Cahercon and Moneypoint where existing pier facilities and deep estuarial water provide potential for maritime industry investment. Clare County Council says it would welcome any opportunity to discuss suitable development proposals for the locations. A new working group has also been established to promote and market the sites and wider Estuary as a key investment location. Led by Clare County Council, the group also comprises …

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