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Displaying items by tag: OPW

The Office of Public Works has been accused of showing “disdain” for Ireland’s natural heritage over flood relief works on a waterway in Co Limerick.

The Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) criticised the clearing last year of some 3km of wild habitat from the River Newport, east of Limerick city and within the Lower Shannon SAC.

The conservation group accuses the OPW of conducting the clearance works — in which “entire stretches of the riverbank had been stripped down to bare soil” — in the absence of the Appropriate Assessment legally required under Irish and EU law.

It is suggested these works have jeopardised an important habitat for otters and wet Willow woodland, while also potentially exacerbating the spread of invasive plan species such as Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed.

The IWT says it visited the River Newport in December and found that “works had greatly exceeded what had been set out” in the OPW’s initial screening report, which the group has branded “largely inaccurate”.

IWT campaigns officer Pádraic Fogarty said: “The OPW is not above the law but yet it seems to think that it can operate with impunity. The damage it has done to our rivers is incalculable; this instance at the Newport in Limerick is not untypical of the distain they show for our natural heritage.”

Similar complaints have been levied against OPW works in Skibbereen, where a stream feeding the River Ilen has been re-engineered as a concrete culvert.

The OPW did not respond to queries from either The Sunday Times or The Green News.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and the Office of Public Works (OPW) Flood Risk Management Unit have signed a new shared service agreement which will see them continue collaborate over the next five years in the protection of fishery requirements while carrying out flood risk management activities.

The agreement will see both parties work closely together to help ensure the country’s statutory drainage objectives are achieved, with a focus on the protection of fishery habitats and resources.

The OPW is the lead statutory body for drainage maintenance and flood risk management (FRM) in the State, while IFI is the statutory body responsible for the protection and conservation of the inland fisheries resource.

The agreement, which spans from 2018 until 2022, has been secured at a time when Government investment in flood risk management operations is increasing.

It follows the recent publication of the Government’s Flood Risk Management Plans which will see some €1 billion in funding under the National Development Plan invested in projects across the country to mitigate flood risk.

This new partnership formalises the historical working relationship between the IFI and the OPW and commits them to continuing their positive engagement for Ireland’s fishery habitats and resources.

Under the agreement, both parties will work across the Environmental River Enhancement Programme (EREP) and will focus on:

A series of scientific investigations to further understand environmental impacts of river maintenance works.

Development of best practice to minimise environmental impacts and maximise environmental gain of river maintenance and flood relief activities.

Work programmes to identify barriers to fish passage on arterially drained rivers that have potential for improvements works.

Work elements to assist achieving so that all waters will attain ‘Good’ ecological status by a specified date, as per the Water Framework Directive.

The aim is to provide a science-based platform to the IFI-OPW links. For example, scientific investigations will provide an evidence base for determining the appropriateness or otherwise of undertaking physical river enhancement works in locations to bring about improved Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR) scores.

Facilitated by IFI surveys, an EQR will be generated for the fish community and the physical form of the river at each site. This will inform all requests to OPW from third parties, such as angling clubs or community groups, to undertake such works. IFI will be taking a prioritised approach in undertaking surveys and could handle a small number of cases annually.

“We are delighted to re-engage with the OPW and continue to foster the high levels of understanding of fishery requirements within flood risk management activities while also ensuring statutory drainage objectives are realised. Together, we will secure the future of our rich natural fisheries resource,” said Suzanne Campion, IFI’s head of business development.

John Curtin, director of engineering services with the OPW, added: “This agreement is a proactive one in terms of delivering environmental gain, while still balancing the drainage/flood relief functions for our communities and demonstrates how two public authorities working in partnership can achieve more that the organisations could working individually.”

A full copy of the IFI-OPW agreement can be found HERE.

Published in Angling

#PRESIDENT REOPENS MARITIME MUSEUM- President Michael D. Higgins officially performed the reopening ceremony of the €4m restored National Maritime Museum of Ireland in Dun Laoghaire today, reports Jehan Ashmore.

An ecumenical service was held by Canon Victor Stacey, Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral Dublin, who up until recently was Minister at Christ Church & Mariners in Dun Laoghaire. The Dean was also joined by the town's Rev. Christopher Kennedy from the York Road Presbyterian Church and Mons. Dan O'Connor, Parish Priest of St. Michaels Church.

Follwing the blessing, the President spoke of his admiration for the beautiful building and of those many people over the years that helped to establish the Maritime Institute of Ireland (M.I.I.) and its museum through it many functions and role in the coastal town.

In particular the President paid tribute to the late Dr. John de Courcy Ireland, who was a prominent member of the M.I.I. and was made honorary research officer of the institute which was formed in 1941. It was in that same year that the President remarked was the year of his birth.

Following his speech a plaque to mark the occasion was unveiled by the President on the steps leading up to the altar of the apt venue of the former Old Mariners Church where more than 200 people witnessed the historic occasion. Those in attendance from the diplomatic corps included ambassadors from Argentina, Britain and France.

Among the other dignitaries where the Lord Mayor of Holyhead, local T.D's including Brian Hayes, Minister of State at the OPW which was ultimately responsible in the museum's renovation project. Funding came mostly from the Government, nationwide donations and volunteer-led collections.

The building project included major electrical and fire safety improvements, repairing stain-glass windows, and re-roofing. In addition repointing of the granite-cut building hewn from Dalkey granite which was built in 1836 for the Church of Ireland for mariners. The building is one of the last such structures still intact in the world.

Several years after the church closed in the early 1970' the Maritime Institute of Ireland moved into the building where the museum remained open until 2004.

Since then the building had undergone extensive renovation and modernisation. The museum which has been open to the public since April has exhibits from throughout Ireland and more will be added too in the future according to Peadar Ward, president of the M.I.I.. He added that they look forward to also displaying marine paintings and to hosting lecture programmes in the premises.

Also in attendance where crew members of the Naval Service L.E. Roisin (P51) which made a special port of call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, berthing along the East Pier.

In addition members of the Irish Naval Association, the local RNLI lifeboat and sea scouts welcomed the President, where the day's events included a planting of an oak tree in the grounds of the building located close to the towns harbour waterfront.

Published in News Update
Today Minister Simon Coveney TD has welcomed the provision of €1.5millon funding for a new Coast Guard Station in Crosshaven.

'Following continuing contact with the OPW, it has been confirmed to me that a new contract for the construction of the new station has been awarded and work is to start very soon. This tender process has been ongoing for more than a year and I am delighted that it has finally been awarded and work to commence shortly.'

crosshavencoastguard1

Marine Minister Simon Coveney TD with Victor Shine Deputy Area Officer Crosshaven Coast Guard Unit, Vincent Farr Area Officer and James Furlong Unit Member looking over the plans for the new €1.5 Million Coast Guard Station at Crosshaven, Co. Cork. The contract has been awarded to Blarney firm Cumnor Constuction Ltd and work will commence shortly. Photos Billy macGill

'Those who work at Crosshaven Coast Guard are to be commended for their commitment and dedication to the local community in a voluntary capacity. We must now ensure that they are working in a station that reflect this loyalty and high standard of service.'

crosshavencoastguard

The contract has been awarded to Cumnor Construction Ltd. of Blarney on August 3rd. Work on the site is expected to commence very shortly.

Published in Coastguard
The crew of sailors, artists, musicians and historians on board Ar Seachrán - who are retracing the famous voyage of St Brendan - were refused permission to land on Skellig Michael, it has emerged.
The Kerryman reports that though some visitors are understood to have landed on the island in recent weeks, the OPW refused the Brendan's Voyage crew on health and safety grounds.
A spokesperson for the OPW said it requires at least 10 days notice to make preparations for any visitors and repair damage to pathways and buildings occurring over the winter months.
Dr Breandán Ó Ciobhán of the voyage party described the news as "very disappointing".
Ar Seachrán, a 45ft yacht owned by Paddy Barry - himself a veteran of unique ocean voyages - will continue on its journey up the west coast of Ireland and Scotland, by the Orkneys, Shetlands and Faroe Islands to Iceland.

The crew of sailors, artists, musicians and historians on board Ar Seachrán - who are retracing the famous voyage of St Brendan - were refused permission to land on Skellig Michael, it has emerged.

The Kerryman reports that though some visitors are understood to have landed on the island in recent weeks, the OPW refused the Brendan's Voyage crew on health and safety grounds.

bon_voyage_a_danny

Photo copyright: Robert Brummett


A spokesperson for the OPW said it requires at least 10 days notice to make preparations for any visitors and repair damage to pathways and buildings occurring over the winter months.

Dr Breandán Ó Ciobhán of the voyage party described the news as "very disappointing".

Ar Seachrán, a 45ft yacht owned by Paddy Barry - himself a veteran of unique ocean voyages - will continue on its journey up the west coast of Ireland and Scotland, by the Orkneys, Shetlands and Faroe Islands to Iceland.

Published in Coastal Notes

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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