18th December

'A Taste of the Waterways' 2016

Over 100 of the best places to eat, drink and stay along 1,000km of Ireland's inland waterways, are described with highlighted features, in the Taste of the Waterways, 2016.

Researched and compiled by renowned food writer, Georgina Cambell and produced by Waterways Ireland, this informative guide should be kept at finger-tip reach of anyone cruising along the Barrow Navigation; Erne System; Lower Bann; Grand and Royal Canals; Shannon-Erne Waterway and Shannon Navigation, this summer. A Taste of the Waterways

"The 2016 Taste of the Waterways guide should introduce a lot of new visitors to a part of Ireland that is still unknown to many - and what a wonderful surprise they have in store! Our beautiful rivers and canals lead the visitor right to the heart of Ireland [where] there is a special timeless quality to the way of life.

Read more: 'A Taste of the Waterways' 2016

Could fracking for shale gas return to the Irish agenda?

North Yorkshire County Council’s decision in May to approve plans for fracking shale gas ends a four-year moratorium in the UK on the controversial technology, and is certain to renew interest in the process in Ireland.

Despite 4,000 representations from the public against and 30 in favour, the county council’s planning committee voted 7:4 to allow Third Energy to test the commercial viability of fracking shale rock in the district of Rydale.Fracking

                                                                                                                          Courtesy of Tamboran Resources

Speaking on BBC radio, Professor Paul Ekins ― Director of the Institute for Sustainable Resources at University College London and an authority on fracking ― described the development as “a political watershed.

Read more: Could fracking for shale gas return to the Irish agenda?

Shannon-Erne Blueway's 70km water trail

A 70km water trail and 17km of linear and looped walking/cycle routes from Leitrim Village to Belturbet, have opened to provide a range of recreational leisure activities. The Shannon-Erne Blueway adds to the network of Blueway trails developed by Waterways Ireland along various navigations.

Waterways Ireland Blueway

Dawn Livingstone, CEO Waterways Ireland; Cathoirleach Paddy Smith, Cavan County Council; Minister Heather Humphries; Karl Henry, broadcaster and fitness expert with members of the Ballyconnell Community

"This is a wonderful amenity which is a great addition to Cavan and Leitrim's tourism offering. The Blueways across the country is an important element of the government's tourisim strategy," remarked Heather Humphries, Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht. 

Read more: Shannon-Erne Blueway's 70km water trail

Ireland 'commits' to climate change action

Ireland's Minister for Climate Change, Denis Naughten, has advised the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy that the country is "fully committed" to the climate agenda.

Naughten Climate Change

Minister Denis Naughten; Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete and Minister Michael Creed in the Mansion House, Dublin

He stressed however that given the efforts Ireland was making at national level, it was "imperative" that our contribution to tackling climate change was fully achievable and addressed key challenges in meeting our EU and international obligations, balancing key concerns, social and economic realities.

Read more: Ireland 'commits' to climate change action

Irish divers lodge complaint in Brussels

The Irish Underwater Council has questioned the legality of planned dumping this summer of 400,000m3 of dredge spoil from Dublin Port into an area of Dublin Bay given Special Area of Conservation status after the permit was granted.

Dublin Bay Ocean Divers

Coral Garden. The richness and diversity of marine life less than 15km from the centre of Dublin. Photo Willie Siddall

The area – from Rockabill to Dalkey Island ― was designated an SAC under the EU Habitats Directive in December 2012, as being ‘suitable aquatic habitat’ for harbour porpoise, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Read more: Irish divers lodge complaint in Brussels

Irish bathing water awarded 'excellent' status in vast majority of locations

The overall quality of Ireland's bathing waters continues to be "extremely good" despite cool and sometimes wet and windy conditions in summer 2015, according to Dr Matt Crowe, director of EPA's Office of Evidence and Assessment.

Commenting at the launch of the Environmental Protection Society's  Bathing Water Quality in Ireland - A Report for the Year 2015, he added that stricter standards were providing "a high level of protection for bathers".

Bathing20Water20Quality20Map20of20Ireland

Six bathing waters however failed to reach the minimum mandatory standard (Merrion Strand, Rush South Beach and Loughskinny, Co Dublin; Youghal, Co Cork; Duncannon, Co Wexford and Ballyloughnane, Co Galway).  Four of these beaches were also classified 'poor' quality in 2014. 

Additional newly classifed as 'poor' are Merrion Strand and Loughskinny, Co Dublin. Merrion Strand is termed "complex" due to impacts from nearby streams and from a growing number of seabirds causing microbiological pollution. 

Read more: Irish bathing water awarded 'excellent' status in vast majority of locations

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