FIE is today publishing a Report obtained under Access to Information on the Environment showing shocking photographs of the Office of Public Works’ brutal bank clearance on the Bandon River beside Dunmanway’s Long Bridge last September. The site is host to a dense colony of the protected fresh water pearl mussel, and the Report details ‘removal of riparian trees and vegetation and disturbance of the ground resulting in the presence of large amounts of loose soil.’ Subsequent reports by the National Parks and Wildlife Service include photographs showing the river entirely overwhelming the silt fences put in place to prevent erosion. FIE has written to the Minister, highlighting the dangers to the environment of the OPW’s highly interventionist approach to urban flooding which emphasises hard landscape measures over catchment management and soft measures. The disastrous approach demonstrated in this Report is being replicated in the flood management schemes across the country.
The impact of Ireland’s new international commitments and national legislation intended to address climate change impact has been completely ignored in the current Independent Review of Airport Charges.
The review avoids addressing the issue of rising emissions from aviation, does not actually set out any policies to deal with emissions, and fails to acknowledge the need to cap and curb demand growth so that the target of limiting global warming to no more than 2°C can be met’.
Aviation emissions in Ireland have increased this year alone by 12% above 2015. This represents a significant drain on Ireland’s putative climate efforts and is entirely contrary to both the Paris Agreement and our own recent Climate legislation.’
Taken in conjunction with the recent Dublin Area Transport Plan which also ignored the requirement to have regard to climate change, FIE is concerned with the mind-set of the Department of Transport, which appears not to have accepted that it must share in the burden of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Read the submission:
FIE is calling on the Cork Association for Autism to amend their planned balloon release this Sunday and ‘keep it on a string’. The practice of releasing balloons was ‘an act of littering’ that only continued because people were unaware of the consequences. ‘If the public knew how hazardous balloons are to the environment they would never allow it’, FIE Director Tony Lowes said.
The group has protested balloon launches before. The balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency was re-arranged at the last minute after FIE’s protest to include a ‘Secure Balloon Release’, and not a ‘general balloon release.’
‘All of the balloons for the ceremony’, Tony Lowes explained, ‘had extra-long string attached. The balloons were then released from chest height and let go to the maximum of the string length for the launch itself. After the EU ceremony, children were able to take the balloons home with them as a memento of the day.’
FIE first tried to prevent President Mary McAleese partaking in a memorial balloon release in 2005. At the time Environment Minister Dick Roche refused to prohibit mass balloon releases. In 2009 the prestigious Dublin’s Mount Anville school cancelled a planned balloon release after FIE issued a public call. In July 2012 Birdwatch Ireland and three other wildlife and marine groups issued a call to Ban Balloon Releases.
UK Marine Conservation Society Pollution Policy and Position Statement, 2014
Birdwatch Ireland (and others) July 2012 call for Ban
As the European Commission begins infringement proceedings against Ireland for failing to complete the designation requirements for its Special Areas of Conservation, it proposes to close another investigation into the protection of the fresh water pearl mussel on the basis of commitments given by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Coillte Teo., the State Forestry Board.
The new proceedings allege that Ireland has failed to complete the national legal protective regime for 400 of the SACs State’s within 6 years of their selection and for failing to set detailed site specific objectives for 300 of the sites.
Ireland’s new commitment to protect the fresh water pearl mussel are based on extensive investigations into examples provided by FIE 2013 – 2015, included forestry operations by Coillte Teo on the Glaskeen River in County Donegal, Mayo County Council’s repair of a bridge at Delphi on the Bundoragh River, the proposed N59 Maam Cross to Oughterard Road in Connemara, and felling along the river Lickey in Co. Waterford.
Coillte halted 28 felling operations during the investigation. No licences will be issued in the eight priority catchments for the mussel until Catchment Forestry Management Plans have been completed, including a structured programme of consultation, including the general public.