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Displaying items by tag: environment

Concerns about the environment have been raised about cruise liners that dock in Cobh, Cork Harbour. 

Local councillors were invited aboard one of the largest ships in the world, the ‘Norweigan Getaway’, by the Port of Cork to see how the ship operates.

However, one councillor told the EchoLive.ie, he “came away with an existential angst over the scale of the environmental problems we face.”

Green Party Cllr Alan O’Connor says he sees environmental concerns, both in the immediate effect such vessels have on Cobh and Cork Harbour, as well as the impact in terms of the worldwide large-scale effect of the industry.

Internationally there is growing concern about the environmental impact that cruise ships have.

By the end of 2019, according to Cllr O’Connor around 100 cruise liners will dock in the Port of Cork, with up to 110 expected in 2020. Those figures have been on the rise since 2014 when 53 cruise liners docked there, bringing more than 142,000 passengers and crew to Cork.

Cllr O’Connor acknowledges that many people's livelihoods depend on the tourists coming from the cruise liners, with many buses taking people to locations all across Cork including Blarney Castle, while others stay around the Cobh area.

“For Cobh, I got an estimated figure of €30,000 total spend by visitors from this boat,” he said. However, he’s questioned the sustainability of it: “At what stage must the environment come first?” he asked.

For further reading click here

Published in Cork Harbour

Dun Laoghaire Marina took home the Green Business Environment gong in the 2019 DLR County Business Awards, which took place this past Thursday night (3 October).

Speaking on the award, the marina commented on social media: “Wonderful to receive recognition for our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment and promote clean seas.”

Tagged under

‘Marine litter: are there solutions to this global environmental challenge?’ is the title of a free public lecture at 7pm tonight (Thursday 10 January) in the main concourse of GMIT’s main Galway campus.

Prof Richard Thompson from the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at Plymouth University will deliver the lecture ahead of the second Ecology and Evolution Ireland Conference at GMIT and NUI Galway this weekend.

Prof Thomson will discuss issues surrounding the widespread distribution of plastic debris at the sea surface, on the sea bed and on shorelines.

Nearly 700 marine wildlife species are known to encounter marine litter, with many reports of physical harm resulting from entanglement in and ingestion of plastic.

At the same time it is very clear that plastic items bring many societal benefits. Can these benefits be achieved without emissions of waste to the environment?

Progress requires systemic changes in the way we produce, use and dispose of plastic. Prof Thomson will suggest that a key solution to two major environmental problems, our non-sustainable use of fossil carbon (to produce plastics) and the accumulation waste, lies in recycling end-of-life plastics into new products.

While the two days of the conference on Friday 11 ad Saturday 12 January are now fully booked, attendance at this evening’s lecture is remains open and free to all.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Aarhus - Environment Minister Denis Naughten has launched the public consultation for a second implementation under the UN's Aarhus Convention on community participation in environmental issues.

Ratified in June 2012 after a long call by environmental and coastal community campaigners, the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters lays down a set of basic rules to promote citizens’ involvement in environmental matters and improve enforcement of environmental law.

Its provisions are broken down into three pillars: Access to Information on the Environment; Public Participation in Environmental Decision-making; and Access to Justice.

In what his department says is an effort to keep with the spirit of the convention, Minister Naughten has called on the public, including environmental NGOs, to submit comments on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Ireland prior to finalising Ireland's second National Implementation Report to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The purpose of this consultation is to provide the UNECE as well as the Aarhus Convention Secretariat and Compliance Committee with the widest possible range of views and opinions on issues related to the implementation and promotion of the convention in Ireland.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment website has the draft report and details of the consultation, for which comments should be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday 28 October.

Published in Coastal Notes

#GalwayPort - Business leaders have welcomed the news that the €126 million Galway Port extension project will be proceed under the IROPI section of the EU Habitats Directive.

According to the Galway Independent, the decision by An Bord Pleanála to proceed under IROPI – or Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest – is a first for Ireland.

Progress will involve establishing replacement habitats for those that would be adversely affected by the port extension. As previously reported on Afloat.ie, it was determined that a number of reef, mud and sand habitats would be destroyed by the 24 hectares of land reclamation required.

But there's better news for those with environmental concerns, as planners have determined that two nearby Natura sites – the Inner Galway Bay Special Protection Are and the Lough Corrib Special Area of Conservation – will see no impact, while priority habitats at Lough Atalia and Renmore Loughs will not be "negatively affected".

The board has also recommended "tight co-operation" between the Galway Harbour Company and local authorities to ensure conservation is made top priority throughout the project.

The Galway Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Galway Harbour

#DublinBay - "How many capital cities can boast such a rich marine megafauna?" asks the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's Dr Simon Berrow.

It's an important question as Dublin last week celebrated 300 years of profound change since the decision to build the Great South Wall.

Along with the Bull Wall that followed in the 1800s, it was a project intended to solve dangerous silting in the main channel to Dublin Port.

But together, they completely reshaped the environment around Dublin Bay into a habitat for hundreds of species of marine wildlife - including the aforementioned megafauna like dolphins and porpoises that frequent Dublin's waters.

And it's an environment that's still reshaping today, as the Irish Independent reports - using the example of a toilet block built on Bull Island's Dollymount Strand in the early 1970s but which today, only 44 years on, is nestled deep in the dunes some distance from the beach.

Bull Island itself, which did not exist before the building of the Bull Wall two centuries ago, is now home to nine distinct habitats among the many important sites that round the bay from Howth's sea cliffs to Seapoint's rocky shoreline.

And its biosphere status is one that Dublin City Council wants to extent over an area from Malahide down to Killiney to ensure the bay's proper protection and management.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

#Fracking - Northern Ireland's inland and coastal waterways could be at risk from contamination by fracking activity, warns an environmental group.

The Belfast Telegraph reports on Friends of the Earth's poor assessment of Stormont's regulatory powers, with the group citing an array of illegal landfills and quarries across the North as a worrying precedent for any future fracking operations to extract shale gas.

In particular, FoE spoke out about licences for oil exploration granted for areas that cover wetlands, river catchments and marine zones - including Loughs Erne and Neagh, Belfast Lough and the Causeway Coast.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
Tagged under

#Sewage - Clonshaugh in North Dublin has been chosen as the location for the city's new water treatment 'super plant' which has long faced objections from local campaigners.

As The Irish Times reports, a meeting of Fingal County Council yesterday afternoon (10 June) saw the site near Dublin Airport chosen over Annsbrook and Newtowncorduff, both near the coastal towns of Rush and Lusk.

Part of the plan includes the construction of a 26km orbital sewer to collect waste from parts of Dublin, Kildare and Meath, and an outfall pipeline that will eject waste near Ireland's Eye.

Project managers have described the Clonshaugh option as "ecologically and environmentally better" than the alternatives, but campaigners such as Reclaim Fingal chair Brian Hosford argue that "the potential for environmental disaster [with a single large plant] is enormous".

In January 2012, Minister for Health James Reilly raised his own concerns that any potential malfunction at the large-scale facility - second-only in scale to the new water treatment plant at Ringsend - could see huge amounts of raw sewage pumped into the Irish Sea.

Meanwhile, The Irish Times also spoke to a farming family who may lose as many as 40 acres if the 'super plant' gets the go-ahead adjacent to their land.

"I would have to change my whole system of farming if this goes ahead," said 77-year-old PJ Jones, who added that his biggest concern was the smell.

Published in News Update

#Festivals - "Tens of thousands" of visitors are expected to flock to the City of the Tribes later this month for the first Galway Sea Festival over the June bank holiday weekend, according to the Galway Advertiser.

Dubbed the 'Mini-Volvo' by locals, the four-day event from 31 May till 3 June is hoped to recreate the celebratory atmosphere of last summer's successful Volvo Ocean Race finale, with a wide range of events both on and off the waters of Galway Bay.

Highlights include the festival regatta led by the Galway Bay Sailing Club's parades of sail on the Friday and Saturday evenings, and a traditional boat regatta by Badoiri na Cladaigh.

Watersports enthusiasts can get a taste of canoeing, diving, sea kayaking and windsurfing over the weekend, which also coincides with World Oceans Day - with family-friendly activities at the Galway Atlantaquaria on Sunday 2 June - and the International Canoe Polo Championships at Claddagh Basin.

Preceding the festival on Thursday 30 May will be the Bright Blue Sea Conference, a major international symposium on marine science, renewable energy, the environment and the 'blue economy'.

Last month it was reported that the Galway Sea Festival received the financial backing of Galway City Council, spurred by its aims to promote Galway as a maritime destination or commerce and tourism.

The Galway Advertiser has much more on the festival HERE.

Published in Maritime Festivals

#MarineScience - Irish companies and researchers have distinguished themselves by developing innovative maritime services using satellite derived data in areas as diverse as marine renewables, fisheries protection, aquaculture and tourism.  

That was the message from Dr Volker Liebig, director of Earth observation programmes with the European Space Agency at the opening of a conference on 'Space Innovation - Powering Blue Growth' at the National Maritime College of Ireland in Cork last week.

Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock, who opened the two-day event, said: “There are over 40 Irish companies currently engaged in ESA programmes, many of which are directly addressing global challenges such as climate change, sea-level rise, maritime surveillance and marine environmental monitoring.

"This is a growing industry and one which will guarantee high-quality jobs for Irish people and benefit our economy into the future.”

The conference - jointly organised by the ESA, the European Commission (DG Maritime Affairs), Enterprise Ireland, University College Cork’s Coastal and Marine Research Centre, the Irish Coast Guard and the Irish Naval Service - focussed on the contribution of space to maritime policy implementation; showed how new scientific results and innovative services assist in achieving targets set by the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union (IMP); and assessed how the ESA space development activities and the IMP can contribute to economic growth in Europe.
   
Geoffrey O’Sullivan, representing Marine Institute CEO Dr Peter Heffernan, said that the conference "ably demonstrated that Space Remote Sensing had a very positive contribution to make towards developing our blue economy.”

Examples given included fisheries management (including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing); environmental assessment; detection of oil spills and harmful algal blooms; site survey for offshore renewable energy and aquaculture platforms; search and rescue; and maritime domain awareness (MDA).

O'Sullivan added that the Conference "validated the SMARTOCEAN (ICT and the Sea) Strategy being promoted by the Marine Institute, in identifying clear opportunities for Irish researchers and SMEs to harness their significant ICT and marine research skills and drawing on 'Big Data' provided by satellite sensors to develop of range of new products, services and applications relevant to local and global markets.”

Closing the conference, Marine Minister Simon Coveney commented that “increasing maritime situational and domain awareness is paramount in promoting a more inclusive approach to maritime development in delivering both the EU Blue Growth Strategy (2012) and Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan (Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth) launched in 2012.

"Space based systems,” he said, “are a key component of an integrated and sophisticated maritime surveillance network.”  

Published in Marine Science
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The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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