Petition succeeds as County Clare surf spot is saved
Advocates for Doughmore Beach earned a symbolic victory after news broke that an application to build a giant seawall was withdrawn.
You may remember a great deal of hubbub a few months back when a Trump-owned golf course in County Clare, Ireland, proposed building a massive seawall along Doughmore Beach. The plan was to prop up parts of the golf course threatened by erosion and rising seas with a 2-mile long rock seawall. Problem was, to local surfers and environmentalists, the proposed seawall threatened traditional sand movement patterns and had the potential to destroy a well-surfed sandbar at Doughmore. Lots of local residents were also worried that the wall would permanently scar the beach.
In an incomprehensible bit of irony, the Trump team’s application for the seawall referenced protecting the property from potential issues from rising seas, even as presidential candidate Trump routinely called climate change a “hoax” (The mind reels).
Even so, hundreds of locals are employed at the course, and they in turn were concerned that if the wall didn’t get built, the course would close and they’d lose their jobs. Trump is pretty popular in County Clare circles after bringing employment and tourist cash to an off-the-beaten path part of Ireland that can struggle financially.
Groups like Save The Waves began circulating a petition to put pressure on County Clare administrators to deny permission for the Trump International course to build the wall. Over 100,000 people signed the petition, in Ireland and internationally. The effort paid off when last week, it was announced, according to Yahoo News, that the application for the sea wall “was withdrawn by the applicant.”
Irish charger Fergal Smith called the decision a “victory for common sense.”
A sort of compromise was struck, and a much smaller, less intrusive wall be be built, and two holes of the golf course will be moved further from the sea.
I checked in with Nick Mucha from Save The Waves who helped spearhead this campaign. Here’s what he had to say:
“This is a rare and inspiring example of many people working together to overcome the long odds. Trump’s decision to walk away from the seawall proposal is a huge milestone for the #NatureTrumpsWalls campaign. I hope that the surf community takes note that if we work together for the things that we hold dear, we can have a meaningful impact. However, our work continues as we must analyze the next series of proposals and ensure they do not pose any risk to the unique coastal resources of Doughmore Beach.”
Love it or hate it, the incoming Trump administration is about to test the resolve of environmentally-conscious surfers across the U.S., and, potentially, as the Irish case shows, internationally too. Efforts to save Doughmore Beach show that concentrated action by a committed group of surfers and activists can, believe it or not, affect change when you might otherwise least expect it.
| POSTED ON DECEMBER 17, 2016
Read more at http://www.surfermag.com/features/irish-beach-says-no-to-trumps-wall/#spjL1TpXoIFRAK6i.99
14 DECEMBER 2016
Boycott campaign challenges organic standards on salmon
The Boycott Farmed Salmon’s 2016 Christmas campaign has added the word ‘ORGANIC’ to its campaign’s name after the Minister refused to enforce the EU Regulations which require that whenever chemical medicines are used on organic products ‘treated stock shall be clearly identifiable’. [Note 1]
According to the 10 Irish environmental groups that support the campaign, the requirement is contained in the European Union regulations governing organic production. Deputy Eamon O’Cuiv raised the issue of chemical treatment in the Oireachtas last year when, referring to the chemical treatments, he said that he ‘will not touch farmed salmon because it is a totally unnatural product.’
In 2015, the campaign published a pre-slaughter Department of Agriculture laboratory analysis that showed the presence of 10 chemicals, 6 approved by Marine Harvest, the Norwegian multi-national that produces almost all of Ireland’s organic farmed salmon.
‘However, the Minister for Agriculture claims that the regulation does not mean that the treated stock shall be clearly identified to the consumer. He claims that the identification required is solely for the benefit of the producers to ensure withdrawal periods are met’, the campaign spokesman explained. [Note 2]
The Food Safety Authority initially told the groups that ‘It is a fair point to make – that is treated stock are to be clearly identifiable.’ [Note 3] But after consulting with Department of Agriculture, Food and the Maine and with the Marine Institute, they advised the campaign and the Minister that this was ‘an issue of record keeping, not labelling of packaging. ‘Organic operators meet this requirement’ the Minister told the Oireachtas in a written parliamentary reply earlier this year, ‘by maintaining information at their premises’. [Note 2]
The campaign spokesman said this made no sense. ‘The Regulations state clearly that ‘treated stock shall be clearly identifiable’. Farmed salmon are treated with a range of chemicals which while approved by the regulatory authorities the consumer may not wish to ingest himself.’ [Note 3]
‘The purpose of organic regulations are so that consumers can differentiate chemically treated products from products that have not been chemically treated. We urge the public to boycott organic farmed salmon this Christmas if they have any respect for those who buy and sell organic products in a relationship of trust with the public.’
Billy Smith 353 (0) 86 3511628
Tony Lowes 353 (0) 27 74771 / 353 (0)87 2176316
Or any of the supporting organisations below
Campaign Website: http://wildfish.ie/
 COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 710/2009 of 5 August 2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, as regards laying down detailed rules on organic aquaculture animal and seaweed production.
Section 7, Article 25 t ‘Veterinary treatments’ (5) of Regulation 710/2009 states: ‘Treated stock shall be clearly identifiable.’
 Clare Daly, Dublin Fingal, United Left. Written answers, Tuesday, 28 June 2016. [17940/16]
 Medicines Positive List. Marine Harvest list chemical veterinary products approved for use in the production of farmed organic salmon.
Environmental Groups supporting the Boycott
An Taisce 087 2411995
Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISSTA) 074 9730300
Forest Friends 087 619 8265
Friends of the Earth 01-6394652
Friends of the Irish Environment 087 2176316
Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages 086 3511628
Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture 00 44 7771541826
Irish Federation of Seal Anglers 085 7339040
Irish Seal Sanctuary 01 8354487
No Salmon Farms at Sea 087 7673157
Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture 0044 7771 541826
Salmon Watch Ireland 086 826 9222
Save Bantry Bay 087 7949 227
The Woodland League 087 9933157
Activity at Castleforbes under investigation
Alleged felling of protected trees
The Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine has confirmed that it is investigating the alleged felling of oak trees at a w woodland in Newtownforbes earlier this year.
The oaks aged between 60 and 80 years old were specifically protected under instructions issued with a 2014 Felling Licence at Castleforbes.
The protection was imposed at the request of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) during the consultation period before the licence was issued.
Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) made a complaint in rpect of the matter and the issue was brought forward by way of a Dail Question through Independent Deputy Clare Daly, TD.
‘What went on a Castleforbes is a breakdown in the system for ancient forests in Ireland, even though they may have the highest level of protection possible in national and EU law’, a spokesman for FIE said.
‘If these heritage woodlands can not be protected, woe betide the rest of Ireland’s vanishing native woodlands’.
FIE also claimed that it first reported to the Minister that the relevant licence allowed the taking of only ‘poor quality stems’ but now understood that the trees destroyed at Castleforbes included prime mature timber.
‘On May 16 we wrote again informing the Minister of the existence of a Report confirming the felling of mature oaks at Castleforbes prepared by the NPWS’, the spokesman continued.
‘The Report, prepared by the NPWS for the Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht in December 2015, was intended to inform a reply to written parliamentary Questions from Longford-Westmeath TD James Bannon questioning protection of this ancient woodland.
‘It detailed the felling of oak, ash, and beech and stated that most oak were between 60 and 80 years old, with the occasional older trees.’
By Aisling Kiernan
Longford Leader 3 December 2016
FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT
6 DECEMBER 2016
Trump’s Irish Wall plan scrapped
Donald Trump’s proposed 3 km sea wall at his International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in Doonbeg, Co, Clare, has been scrapped, according to new plans revealed last night.
At the opening of the Public Consultation on revised plans for Donald Trump’s coastal defences at Doonbeg County Clare last night new plans were put on public display that showed that permission to construct a continuous 2.8 kilometre wall has been abandoned.
According to those who attended last night’s Public Consultation, held at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland in Doonbeg, a new planning permission is to be submitted shortly which will propose sheet metal piling and rock armour for 650 metres at one end and 200 metres at the other end of the dune system. Two holes will be relocated inland.
Save the Waves, who sponsored a petition that now has more than 100,000 signatures opposed to the original Wall, called it a ‘Good News Story’. Director of Programmes Nick Mucha said that ‘This is a defining milestone for the campaign. It demonstrates the power of the international community to protect our coasts. Save the Waves and its Irish partners will continue to monitor the new proposals and remain engaged to guide them towards a responsible solution, but today more than 100,000 people can celebrate the fact that the original ill-conceived sea wall proposal has been scrapped.’
‘The threat of Trump’s Irish wall has hung over Doonbeg like a dark cloud for more than two years’, FIE Director Tony Lowes said. ‘There is no doubt the original proposal would have stopped the development of the dune system and scoured the beach, leading to a loss of one of the finest amenities on the west coast. While the sense of relief today is enormous – as is our gratitude to the international community- the current proposal will require detailed analysis in terms of the Conservation Objectives – and the impact on the protected snail – before we can comment on it.’
Leading Irish Surfer Fergal Smith, who attended the Public Information Day, said ‘There has been a serious re think on the original wall which is good to see. It's still a wall which is always a concern so it's important to keep a close eye developments.’
Contacts: Tony Lowes Friends of the Irish Environment 353 (0)27 74771
Nick Mucha, Save the Waves 001 831-345-4837
Save The Waves is working alongside prominent Irish and European environmental and surfing groups to defeat Mr. Trump’s proposal. The coalition of organizations includes Surfrider Foundation Europe, Friends of The Irish Environment, Irish Surfing Association, West Coast Surf Club, Friends of The Earth Ireland, and the Irish Seal Sanctuary.
Friends of the Irish Environment
28 November 2016
INVESTIGATION INTO FELLING OF OAKS IN HERITAGE WOODLAND BEGINS 8 MONTHS AFTER REPORT
The Minister for Agriculture has confirmed in a written Parliamentary Reply that the felling of 30 mature oak trees in a heritage woodland designated for protection in County Longford is to be investigated.
The oaks, between the ages of 60 and 80 years old, were specifically protected under instructions issued with a 2014 Felling Licence at Castleforbes, County Longford. The protection was imposed at the request of the National Parks and Wildlife Service [NPWS] during the consultation period before the licence was issued.
The Minister for Agriculture denied on 10 November 2016 in a written Parliamentary Reply to Independent TD Clare Daly that he had any reports of Illegal Felling Activity at Castleforbes. However, after the Deputy provided reference numbers of Friends of the Irish Environment’s [FIE] complaint, he amended his reply on 24 November, stating that his officials did not view a May 2016 letter from the environmental organisation as a report of Illegal Felling Activity but that his Department was now investigating the matter.
A spokesman for FIE said the organisation had in fact first reported the illegal felling to the Minister on 18 April 2016. ‘We informed the Minister that the relevant ’licence allowed the taking only of ‘poor quality stems’ while we understand the activities included prime mature timber’. ‘To not view this letter as a report of Alleged Illegal Felling’ is inexplicable’, the spokesman said.
‘On 16 May FIE wrote again informing the Minister of the existence of a Report confirming the felling of mature specimen oaks at Castleforbes prepared by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Report, prepared for the Minister for Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht in December 2015 was intended to inform a reply to a written Parliamentary Question from Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael TD James Bannon questioning the protection of this ancient woodland. The Report detailed the felling of oak, ash, and beech, stating “Most oak trees selected were between 60 and 80 years old, with the occasional older trees.”
Yet the NPWS did not report the matter to the Forest Service and never informed Deputy Bannon of its contents.
The Minister also confirmed to Deputy Daly that sequoias [giant redwoods] up to 100 years old which the contractor had been instructed not to touch on 17 April 2016 had in fact been felled on 13 May 2016, stating that ‘the breach of this instruction is being raised with the Contractor.’
The environmental organisation said that ‘What went on at Castleforbes is a breakdown of the system of protection for ancient forests in Ireland, even though they may have the highest level of protection possible in national and European law. If these heritage woodlands cannot be protected, woe betide the rest of Ireland’s vanishing native woodlands.’
Contact: Tony Lowes 353 (0) 27 74771 or 353 (0) 87 2176316
Full text of PQs
May 2016 FIE PR on Felling During Bird Breeding Season at Castleforbes
The Village Magazine: ‘Castleforboding’, November 2016