The Friends of the Irish Environment has called on the Government to classify balloons as litter.

Participants getting ready for this Sunday's fun run and walk in the shadow of Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour.
Participants getting ready for this Sunday's fun run and walk in the shadow of Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP has welcomed the cancellation of a planned balloon release by an autism charity.

Cork Autism Society had planned to release balloons into the air this Sunday, but have now cancelled the release – if not the event – after protests from the Friends of the Irish Environment.

The FIE said that balloons released into the environment burst and become lethal ‘marine debris’, creating a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other prey.

Marian Courtney of Cork Autism Society told TheJournal.ie she has written to the FIE saying that event has been “slightly altered”.

Instead of a release, the balloons, which are tied to participant’s wrist during this Sunday’s 6km ‘fun run’ and walk, will instead be taken home by the participants.

“We’re delighted with the prompt response from Cork Autism Society,” FIE Director Tony Lowes told TheJournal.ie.

It’s very good of them, and they were very quick. I’m sure if people knew about the effects of these balloons, they wouldn’t plan releases.

“We find that important people don’t realise there’s an adverse side to it.”

BalloonSource: Rollingnews.ie

No-brainer

“The balloons travel and rise across long distances, and they generally land in the ocean, and they break up into fragments which can last in the ocean for up to a year,” he added.

They look like a prey of some kind to turtles and to seabirds. Their stomachs fill up with plastic, and they feel like they’re fill, they don’t eat, and they starve to death.

“Plastic is a worldwide problem, but we still see balloon releases planned for events, and it’s a no-brainer.”

The FIE also called on the Government to define balloons as litter, making their outdoor releases illegal.

Photo 1Source: Cork Autism Society

A previous protest by the FIE caused a balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency to be re-arranged from a general balloon release to a ‘secure balloon release’.

Participants in this Sunday’s run can register online at www.corkautism.ie. The walk will start at the old Railway Line near Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork City, and travel along the River Lee estuary to Blackrock Castle.

Entry is €15 for adults, €5 for children and free with a sponsorship card via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

http://www.thejournal.ie/fie-balloon-release-2967203-Sep2016/

The Friends of the Irish Environment has called on the Government to classify balloons as litter.

Participants getting ready for this Sunday's fun run and walk in the shadow of Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour.
Participants getting ready for this Sunday's fun run and walk in the shadow of Blackrock Castle in Cork Harbour.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP has welcomed the cancellation of a planned balloon release by an autism charity.

Cork Autism Society had planned to release balloons into the air this Sunday, but have now cancelled the release – if not the event – after protests from the Friends of the Irish Environment.

The FIE said that balloons released into the environment burst and become lethal ‘marine debris’, creating a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other prey.

Marian Courtney of Cork Autism Society told TheJournal.ie she has written to the FIE saying that event has been “slightly altered”.

Instead of a release, the balloons, which are tied to participant’s wrist during this Sunday’s 6km ‘fun run’ and walk, will instead be taken home by the participants.

“We’re delighted with the prompt response from Cork Autism Society,” FIE Director Tony Lowes told TheJournal.ie.

It’s very good of them, and they were very quick. I’m sure if people knew about the effects of these balloons, they wouldn’t plan releases.

“We find that important people don’t realise there’s an adverse side to it.”

BalloonSource: Rollingnews.ie

No-brainer

“The balloons travel and rise across long distances, and they generally land in the ocean, and they break up into fragments which can last in the ocean for up to a year,” he added.

They look like a prey of some kind to turtles and to seabirds. Their stomachs fill up with plastic, and they feel like they’re fill, they don’t eat, and they starve to death.

“Plastic is a worldwide problem, but we still see balloon releases planned for events, and it’s a no-brainer.”

The FIE also called on the Government to define balloons as litter, making their outdoor releases illegal.

Photo 1Source: Cork Autism Society

A previous protest by the FIE caused a balloon release planned for the January 2013 opening of the Irish EU Presidency to be re-arranged from a general balloon release to a ‘secure balloon release’.

Participants in this Sunday’s run can register online at www.corkautism.ie. The walk will start at the old Railway Line near Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork City, and travel along the River Lee estuary to Blackrock Castle.

Entry is €15 for adults, €5 for children and free with a sponsorship card via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

http://www.thejournal.ie/fie-balloon-release-2967203-Sep2016/

5 September, 2016

PRESS RELEASE

FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT

CALL FOR CANCELLATION OF CHARITY BALLOON RELEASE

The environmental lobby group Friends of the Irish Environment [FIE] are calling on the Cork Association for Autism to amend their planned balloon release this Sunday and ‘keep it on a string’. The Association’s annual ‘Blue Balloon and Fun Walk’ is scheduled for Sunday 11th at 11 am at Blackrock, Cork.

 

FIE said 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.

 

‘It has been well established since a Canadian marine conference in 1989 that the release of gas filled balloons is an environmental hazard. The fragments can become lethal 'marine debris', a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.’

 

‘All of these species have been reported with balloons in their stomachs. All seven species of marine turtles are near extinction and many turtles of two species in particular, the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtle, have been found with balloons in their intestines. The string on balloons can also entangle and trap animals. Not only can entanglement cause death, but added to other plastic fragments, animals can feel full and actually starve to death from not eating. Latex balloons, whilst biodegradable, may still persist in the marine environment for up to four years’, he added.

 

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.

 

FIE wrote to President Higgins after his election to the Presidency, asking him to ensure that he did not attend ceremonies which included the release of balloons. His office informed them that he ‘cannot intervene in or make representations about matters which come within the remit of the Government.’

 

Mr. Lowes stressed that their organisation meant no disrespect for the Charity or the many hard working volunteers who were planning this event. ‘Nor are we seeking to have balloons banned, but rather to join cities in the United States and many English counties in having balloons included in the legal definition of litter and making outdoor releases illegal’.

 

‘What is key is to ensure that people know of the damage they could unwittingly be causing. Local Authorities could adopt voluntary bans on their own lands as could the Parks and Wildlife Service. This would greatly help to raise awareness – and that’s the key to any change in our behaviour. We don’t believe anyone wants to intentionally cause the needless suffering and death of wildlife or marine animals.’

 

Comment and verification:

Tony Lowes 027 74771 / 087 217 6316

 

Editor’s notes

See video of last year’s Balloon Release

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDe5cuWTKbg

at 2.22

 

UK Marine Conservation Society Pollution Policy and Position Statement, 2014

http://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/pollution/beachwatch/MCS_balloons_and_chinese_lanterns_policy.pdf

 

Birdwatch Ireland (and others) July 2012 call for Ban

http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=TMIWQkz67J0%3D&tabid=1283

 

 

An environmental lobby group has welcomed the cancellation of a charity balloon release which they say is “lethal” to the environment.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have welcomed the cancellation by the Cork Autism Society which was due to have its annual balloon release next weekend.

The environmental group said balloons released into the environment will burst and the fragments can become “lethal marine debris”, a hazard for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish, and seabirds who mistake them for jellyfish or other natural prey.

Marian Courtney, the Sales & Marketing Manager, has written to FIE saying that the balloons, which are tied to participant’s wrist during the walk, “will not be released this year but will instead be taken home by the participants”.

FIE Director Tony Lowes said they were “delighted” by the society’s response.

The environmental 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’.

Lowes stressed that their organisation meant no disrespect for the Cork charity or “the many hard working volunteers who are planning this event. Nor are we seeking to have balloons banned, but rather to join other jurisdictions in having balloons included in the legal definition of litter and making outdoor releases illegal”.

Irish Independent

Catherine Devine

PUBLISHED

06/09/2016 |

 

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/environmental-group-welcomes-cancellation-of-lethal-charity-balloon-release-35025158.html

Doon dust up- the Battle of the Dunes looms

 

Locals tell environmental protestors to stay away as Donald visits stunning resort

Protesters planning to descend on Donal Trump’s west of Ireland golf resort when he visits this month have been warned: ‘You are not welcome’

The Green Party say they will stage protest at the visit of the American Presidential hopeful Trump later this month to his Clare resort.

And an Irish environmental group has vowed to take the tycoon through the Irish courts to stop his 2.8 kilometre rock barrier in front of the five-star coastal retreat – even if he is president.

The odds-on Republican Party presidential hopeful caused a stir that week when he tweeted his intention to visit his ‘magnificent resort fronting on the Atlantic Ocean.’

His son Eric and his wife Lara said his father will return to his Irish resort many times as President of the United States.

Local shopkeeper Murt McInerney said yesterday that protestors planning to disrupt Trump’s visit would not be welcome in Doonbeg.

 

Funny

He said: ‘These protesters will not be welcome. They can stay out of this place.

The funny thing about the planning laws is that somebody from Timbuktu can object to a development here.

There are people from all over the country objecting to what goes on here. There was fellow down in Kerry objecting because of some wretched snail when the gold course was developing.

Nobody has ever seen this microscopic snail. It’s a load of nonsense. I think a law should be introduced that nobody outside of a radius of 10 or 20 miles should be allowed to object to a development.’

Trump is one of the divisive presidential candidates in history, but Mr. McInerney said the people living in Doonbeg are not interested in his politics.

‘Generally speaking, American politics is none of our business’, said the Director of Doonbeg Development, which originally dreamed up the golf course.

‘There is no other employer around here that would employ 240 people.’

He said all the locals were treated to Trump-style hospitality when the businessman’s son Eric arrived in May to open the revamped course.

‘Eric and his wife had a wonderful reception for about 300 of us. They spent a huge amount on it’, he said.

It is estimated the Trumps have spent close to €50m, including the purchase price, on the resort.

Murt said the locals are delighted Trump is proposing to spend millions on coastal defences in front of his property, as it prevents many locals from flooding.

 

Concerns

Environmentalists had in the past expressed concerns about the survival of the microscopic whorl snail in the dunes behind the resort, but Tony Lowe, from the Friends of the Irish Environment, said their group has objected to Trump’s coastal protection because of the fears of the dunes disappearing.

‘He is certainly not welcome as far as we are concerned. What he is proposing is completely unacceptable.

We will certainly support the protest.’

He said the conservation objectives published by the National Parks and Wildlife Service make Trump’s coastal barrier illegal.

 

Concerns

He said: ‘It says that there can be no construction anywhere on the dune system. That is the law.’

And he said they will take their fight right through the Irish Courts, even if Donal Trump is in the Oval Office.

‘If Enda Kenny decided to put a swimming pool in his backyard and the neighbours were annoyed, I don’t think the fact that he is Taoiseach counts… planning goes with the land, not the owner.’

He says the decision on whether to bring Trump to the High court will probably occur in five or six months.

‘The feeling is this will go to the Council, to An Bord Pleanala and then probably end up in the High Court. We’ve been before and we are not reluctant to go again’.

 

Lynn Kelleher

Sunday World

 

6 June, 2016