15th October

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

Working with nature to solve the flooding problem

Janice Fuller, Consultant ecologist

As soon as the country was hit with the latest flooding crisis, the blame game started. The usual suspects were cited: ‘the government’ for lack of action since the last major floods and ‘the planners’ for poor planning decisions (i.e. the councillors in many cases). Lip service is also given to climate change as the reason for the unprecedented weather events.

Flooding wetlands

Increasingly, there is a perception that wildlife is prioritised over people in the management of flooding and that nature conservation legislation is partly to blame for the lack of action regarding flood control.

Read more: Working with nature to solve the flooding problem

The economics of flooding - why do floods affect so many people?

Tom McDermott, UCC

Mc Dermott

Recent events have demonstrated again the cost and misery associated with exposure to flooding. At the same time, a growing awareness of rising sea levels and climate change is adding to the challenge for policy-makers in relation to managing flood risk.

A recent study on the effects of flooding in cities worldwide shows that low elevation urban areas concentrate a greater density of economic activity, in spite of their much greater exposure to flooding. Furthermore, in the aftermath of large urban floods, economic activity tends to return to flood-prone low lying areas, rather than relocating to safer areas.

Read more: The economics of flooding - why do floods affect so many people?

Friends of the Earth react to 2015 flooding

Cara Augustenborg, FoE chairman

Augustenborg

Recent flooding across the country has put climate change at the front of many people’s minds. Record-breaking rainfall demonstrates how our warming climate is intensifying the water cycle and putting us at greater risk of storms and floods.

Risk of extreme storms on the west coast of Ireland is now up 25% due to climate change, and the OPW says up to 70,000 properties could be at risk of flooding from increased rainfall and sea-level rise as a result of climate change.

Read more: Friends of the Earth react to 2015 flooding

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Native woodlands to protect water and aquatic ecosystems
Seashore stress from prolonged heatwave
Majority of Ireland's bathing waters are  of high quality
Plan ‘lacks ambition’ to improve Ireland’s water quality