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Archive for the ‘Environment issues’ Category

Bullock Harbour in Dalkey 12.06.2010


Up visiting this harbour this weekend and caught a glimpse of these two Gray Seals


This video doesn’t exist

There appears to be about 50 of such magnificent creatures that come into the harbour and beg for food from the local fishermen on a Daly bases.

If you have children, this would be a lovely spot to bring them and you get this great entertainment free from the seals. There is a Mobil coffee van on site.

Bring your video camera I only had my phone camera!


Gray Seal

Order: Pinnipedia
Family: Phocidae
Genus and Species:
Halichoerus grypus

Male gray seals can grow to almost ten feet long.Physical Description: Gray seal coloration varies from blackish with white specks and splotches to whitish with black markings. Generally, males are darker and females lighter. Pups are born white with a yellowish tint. Male gray seals have wrinkled necks, thicker necks and shoulders, and longer, broader, more rounded snouts than females.


Size: Male gray seals are much larger than females, weighing 375 to 880 pounds and growing to almost ten feet long. Females weigh between 220 and 572 pounds and reach lengths of up to seven and a half feet. The size difference between individuals can be even more striking than these averages: Some males weigh three times as much as some females. Seals living in Canadian waters grow the largest.

Geographic Distribution: Gray seals breed from eastern Canada to the Baltic Sea. Canadian breeding areas include the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and coastal Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador. Colonies are also found in coastal Iceland, Great Britain, northern Norway, Denmark, southern Sweden, and Estonia. Young seals wander widely. For instance, Canadian gray seals are sometimes seen as far south as New Jersey.

Status: The gray seal’s Baltic population is listed as endangered on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals.

Habitat: Gray seals breed in a variety of habitats where disturbance is minimal, including rocky shores, sandbars, ice flows, and islands. They feed in cold open waters.

Natural Diet: Gray seals eat a wide variety of fish, squid, octopus, and crustaceans such as shrimp. Sometimes they eat a seabird or two. Small fish are swallowed whole, while larger ones are held in the seal’s mouth and torn into smaller, more easily swallowed pieces with the claws on the front flippers.

National Zoo Diet: The Zoo’s gray seals eat butterfish, herring, capelin, and squid.

Reproduction: Gray seal breeding seasons vary, but most breeding takes place between late September and early March. Males posture or fight for access to multiple females, which congregate at haul-out sites to bear and nurse their young. Gestation lasts ten months to a year, and pups are born at haul-out sites the season following mating. They wean about three weeks after birth. Adult females breed again at about the same time as their young wean. Females usually start breeding at three to five years old. Although males are ready to breed at four to eight years old, due to competition with older males they rarely do so before ten years old.

Life Span: In the wild, gray seal females live up to 40 years, while males live up to 30 years. In zoos, they can live into their forties.

Behavior: Gray seals congregate in large groups for breeding, pupping, and molting. During the four- to six-week-long breeding period, neither males nor females eat, drawing from their fat (blubber) for nutrition. Size and fat reserves play an important part in successful breeding. Male seals that can spend more time on land chasing females, and less time feeding at sea, have greater mating success. They also gather in small groups to rest on land. But when it comes to finding food, gray seals dive alone or in small groups.

Past/Present/Future: Over the centuries, gray seals were hunted commercially and for subsistence and many populations declined. In recent years, many have bounced back. Today, they are protected in many areas and their harvest is limited in others. In some areas, a bounty exists on these animals because they sometimes damage fishing nets, eat commercially valued fish, and carry a parasite called the codworm, the larvae of which live in fish and reduce their commercial value. Many gray seals, especially young ones, get tangled in fishing nets and drown. However, except for the Baltic population, gray seal populations are doing well–holding steady or increasing.

source http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/OceanLiving/Facts/graysealfacts.cfm

What if this oil spill was off the coast of Ireland?


If this had happened in Irish waters the Government would have told the nation that we were all responsible and we must all put our shoulder to the wheel and help stop this well from leaking any more of our precious oil .They would also blame the single mothers and the Unemployed for using up badly needed financial resources that would otherwise be spent plugging the well.

A call for a national bond would be made and everyone in the work would be made pay a new oil cleanup carbon tax levy and the Unions would tell the members that we have no choice as this is the only option for the country

Gormley would employ a few green pals to count all the dead fish and Ryan would call for a national day of mourning .Brian lenihan would go on national TV to tell us we must tighten out collative belts yet another two notches!
Bertie Ahern would look for another “Dig out” from his pals to help pay his levy!
Having got it he would then seek an exemption from the revenue on the grounds he was a struggling artist!
The Government would then blame the protesters of shell to sea for the disaster and have them all thrown into jail!

Gormley getting his photo taken


So Mr.Gormely will grace Wicklow to-day to grab a photo opportunity with the help of the New Wicklow water scheme

However he is conveniently forgetting the daly problems we in our estate have with raw sewerage floating down the local stream.

This in spite of us having written to him several times this year alone about this problem

Instead of prancing around having his photo taken he should come down to our estate and see for himself what we the residents have to put up with for the last 15 years

Mr.Gormely has done nothing to stop this pollution.

Mr.Gormely you are a man of inaction, forget about you grandstanding and start doing the job you were elected to do, namely protection of the environment

A case of “out of sight out of mind” Mr.Gormely?


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Residents association

House price index (Permanent TSB/ESRI)

Quarter 1, 2010 – Permanent TSB/ESRI Index crashes 10.3% for Dublin

Today sees the publication of the first Permanent TSB/ESRI QUARTERLY house price index which replaces the old monthly index which was suspended following publication of the December 2009 index because of thin sales. The index published today tells us that the price of residential property has fallen by 4.8% since the end of December 2009 to the end of March 2010, ie an average monthly fall of 1.6%. The indication is that the pace of price falls is easing overall. The average price of a property nationwide is now €204,830. However prices in Dublin crashed 10.3% in the quarter which is worse than the 7.5% fall in Q4, 2009.

The National House Price index stood at 91.0 at the end of March 2010. The last time it was at this level was in November, 2002  when it stood at 91.2. The following shows the index since June 1999 at the end of each quarter (Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec).

The Dublin House Price index stood at 83.0 at the end of March 2010. The last time it was at this level was in June, 2002 when it stood at 83.3. The following shows the index since June 1999 at the end of each quarter (Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec). The average price of a property in Dublin is now €250,872.

The Outside Dublin House Price index stood at 95.9 at the end of March 2010. The last time it was at this level was in March, 2003 when it stood at 96.3. The following shows the index since June 1999 at the end of each quarter (Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec). The average price of a property is now €183,309.

So the key questions : are prices still falling? We don’t know by month but it is certainly the case that prices have continued to fall since December 2009 and the rate of fall between Sep-Dec 2009 (quarter) was 8.5% compared with a fall between Dec 2009 and March 2010 (quarter) of 4.8%.

source http://namawinelake.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/quarter-1-2010-permanent-tsbesr-index-crashes-10-3-for-dublin/

Wicklow County council replies (Dangerous road)

Thank you so much for your kind attention,

I know that funds are scarce but this rout is a school run and the thought of an accident occurring because of the road surface is just freighting.

 With kind regards


 (Wicklow pothole action group)
On Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 10:51 AM, Kay Leeson <KLeeson@wicklowcoco.ie> wrote:

   Just to let you know that Mr. Marnane has stated that there was too much water yesterday to be able to repir this area, so they put signs on it.  It is expected to get it repaired to day.   Regards Kay

—–Original Message—–
From: Sent: 06 April 2010 15:24
To: Kay Leeson
Subject: Re: Pothole action group

Dear Kay thank you for your prompt reply T

On Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 3:20 PM, Kay Leeson <KLeeson@wicklowcoco.ie> wrote:

I wish to acknowledge receipt of your query in regard to state of road at Lower Ballynerrin.   This concern has been forwarded to Mr. Declan Marnane, Area Engineer, for his report and recommendation.   Regards Kay

—–Original Message—–
From: Alvina Brehony
Sent: 06 April 2010 11:05
To: Catherine McCann; Transportation and Roads – Admin
Subject: FW: Pothole action group

  —–Original Message—–
From: 1machholz@gmail.com]
Sent: 04 April 2010 20:56
To: County Secretary – Group
Subject: Pothole action group




Ref: Wicklow Pothole watch group.


Dear Sir or Madam

We would like to bring to your attention the very dangerous state of the road (Map attached and Video) of the Lower Ballynerrin (Marlton road end)

We believe this to be a priority case in road safety as it is a road leading to a school

(Wicklow Montessori school).We asks you to give this your immediate attention before there is a serious accident here.

Thank you (Map) http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&om=0&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=110170022048891024386.000445344891f973d27e2&ll=52.968854,-6.050034&spn=0.021038,0.074158&t=h&z=14   video clip link http://thepressnet.com/2010/04/04/573h

General information on Potholes

A pothole (sometimes called kettle and known in parts of the Western United States as a chuckhole) is a type of disruption in the surface of a roadway where a portion of the road material has broken away, leaving a hole. Most potholes are formed due to fatigue of the pavement surface. As fatigue fractures develop they typically interlock in a pattern known as “alligator cracking”. The chunks of pavement between fatigue cracks are worked loose and may eventually be picked out of the surface by continued wheel loads, thus forming a pothole.

The formation of potholes is exacerbated by low temperatures, as water expands when it freezes to form ice, and puts greater stress on an already cracked pavement or road. Once a pothole forms, it grows through continued removal of broken chunks of pavement. If a pothole fills with water the growth may be accelerated, as the water “washes away” loose particles of road surface as vehicles pass. In temperate climates, potholes tend to form most often during spring months when the subgrade is weak due to high moisture content. However, potholes are a frequent occurrence anywhere in the world, including in the tropics.

Potholes can grow to feet in width, though they usually only become a few inches deep, at most. If they become large enough, damage to tires and vehicle suspensions occurs.

Liz McManus active in the Dail


Liz McManus , Dail activities during the week  24.01.2010- 29.01.2010


Liz McManus
(Wicklow, Labour)

Last year broadcasting legislation was passed by the two Houses and the Joint Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources was charged with carrying out a selection process for appointments to the boards of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and RTE. That process was completed before Christmas. We all know the Minister, Deputy Ryan, has an eccentric view regarding appointments to the public services. He seems to think a telephone call and a chat is enough.
We now have a situation where, I understand, four Cabinet meetings have been held and yet these appointments have not been made. I have no idea what is going on, but the committee on which I sit carried out its duty in an exemplary fashion. We made our recommendations to the Minister, Deputy Ryan. He does not have to accept them, but we have no word—–

Question 48: To ask the Minister for Finance if the public sector pay cuts apply when contract employees in a university here have their funding 100% sourced from philanthropic or private sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Brian Lenihan Jnr
(Minister, Department of Finance; Dublin West, Fianna Fail)

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No 2) Act, 2009 makes provision for the reduction in the pay rates of all persons employed by public service bodies with effect from 1 January 2010. Universities come under the definitions within the Act as public service bodies, contract researchers where they are employed by such a public service body are subject to the pay reductions provided for under the legislation.

Question 89: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when digital closed circuit television will be provided to a Garda station (details supplied) in County Wicklow to replace the out of date analogue system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

John Curran
(Minister of State, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Dublin Mid West, Fianna Fail)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the recording equipment currently employed for the existing Garda CCTV system in the station referred to by the Deputy will be replaced with digital recording equipment during the first quarter of 2010.

 Question 115: To ask the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will give assurances for continued funding in 2011, 2012 and onwards for a community development project (details supplied) in County Wicklow in order for it to continue its work with the County Wicklow partnership; if the current level of funding will continue into the future; his views on the important work being carried out by the community development projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter

John Curran
(Minister of State, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Dublin Mid West, Fianna Fail)

As I outlined previously to the House, my Department has seen the need to redesign its community development/social inclusion programmes, particularly the Local Development Social Inclusion (LDSIP) and Community Development Programmes (CDP), drawing on good international practice and to support the ongoing evaluation of the programmes. Both programmes have a community development element and were delivered through separate local delivery structures. These programmes came to an end on 31 December 2009 and have been superseded by a new programme, the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP).

The aim of the new programme is to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership and constructive engagement between Government and its agencies and people in disadvantaged communities.

The new programme will preserve elements of good practice from the CDP/LDSIP Programmes and will enable groups to objectively demonstrate the positive impacts they are securing for local communities. An implementation strategy, involving the stakeholders, is underway in preparation for LCDP roll-out over the course of 2010.

In advance of proceeding to establish a single programme across CDPs and Partnerships, my Department undertook an evaluation of individual community development projects. Many of these projects span across two decades, with quite diverse activities. The objective of the review was to identify those projects that produce tangible, appropriate benefits for the communities they serve. The vast majority of projects, including the project referred to by the Deputy, fall into this category and have been offered funding under the new programme in 2010. Where projects were not recommended for continued funding, an appropriate appeals mechanism has been provided.

I am pleased to have been able to ring-fence funding for community development projects for 2010 and to maintain it at 2009 levels. In few other areas of public spending has it been possible to do this. The Deputy will appreciate that ongoing funding for 2011 and beyond will be subject to budgetary considerations at the appropriate time.


Water pipes broken under the marlton Road

Water pipes seem to be broken under this streach of the Marlton Road


We have tested this water and there is no chlorine present so it must be surface water coming up through the road.

This often happens where the land is higher than the road.

Thanks again for letting us know as it is always worth checking.


Declan Marnane,

Wicklow Area Engineer,

0404 20173

—–Original Message—–

Sent: 25 January 2010 21:43

To: County Secretary – Group

Subject: water pipe breakages

Dear sir or Madam

I wish to draw your attention to the water pipe breakages on the Marlton road

Please inform the relevant department,

Hoping this will bring about the speedy repair and help conserve this precious resource!

Appeal for Haiti

 Urgent ,Please Help !

Environmental Impacts of Road Salt

I see that john Gormely the environment Minster is in charge of the country’s road De-icing operations

Baring in mind that this man is a Green Minster I would ask him to take notice of this article!

Having lived in Germany for many years I know all too well the destruction Salt does to the environment

There are alternatives available!

Mr Gormely

This article can be read in full at the following link


By William Wegner and Marc Yaggi

Chloride salts are composed of approximately 60% chloride and 40% positive ion. De-icing operations use calcium, potassium, and magnesium chlorides, but to a lesser degree than NaCl. These salts may be applied in liquid or crystalline form, either of which can be used in conjunction with abrasives. Liquid salt solutions provide immediate deicing upon application to roads and foothpaths. Crystalline forms are slower and longer acting than liquid solutions. Sodium ferrocyanide is added to chloride salts to prevent clumping during storage and application. In water, sodium ferrocyanide can be photolyzed to release approximately 25% cyanide ions (EPA, 1971).
Runoff to surface waters and percolation to groundwater are the most common mechanisms for road salts to enter water supplies. Infiltration is more common for groundwater-based supplies. Chloride concentration in groundwater supplies exhibits a relatively linear relation to road-salt application rate or two-lane road density throughout the year. In surface-water supplies, chloride concentration depends on salting intensity, soil type, climate, topography, and water volume, with larger water bodies exhibiting lower concentrations through the process of dilution. Deicing salts applied to roads during winter are the primary source of solutes to groundwater,).

NaCl dissociates in aquatic systems into chloride ions (CL) and sodium cations (Na+). While sodium may bond to negatively charged soil particles or be taken up in biological processes, chloride ions are less reactive and can be transported to surface waters through soil and groundwater. Road salts applied to roadways can enter air, soil, groundwater, and surface water from direct or snowmelt runoff, release from surface soils, and/or wind-borne spray. These salts remain in solution in surface waters and are not subject to any significant natural removal mechanisms). Their accumulation and persistence in watersheds pose risks to aquatic ecosystems and to water quality. Approximately 55% of road-salt chlorides are transported in surface runoff with the remaining 45% infiltrating through soils and into groundwater aquifers


Soil biotic communities cycle nutrients, decompose organic matter, and increase soil aeration and water-holding capacity. EC (2000) reported soil chloride concentrations exceeding 200 mg/l as far as 200 m from roadsides. EPA has set the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) for chloride at 250 mg/l in drinking-water supplies.

Exposure to NaCl inhibits some soil bacteria at concentrations as low as 90 mg/l, which ultimately compromises soil structure and thereby inhibits erosion control. Federal standards for turbidity require that a drinking-water supply not exceed 5 nephelometric turbidity units;.


Elevated sodium and chloride levels in soils create osmotic imbalances in plants, which inhibit water absorption and reduce root growth. Salt also disrupts the uptake of plant nutrients and inhibits long-term growth. EC (2000) cites numerous studies attributing tree injury and decline to road-salt application, concluding that NaCl can cause severe injury to the flowering, seed germination, roots, and stems of roadside plant species. Damage to vegetation can occur up to 200 m from roadways that are treated with deicing salts. Up to 50.8% of woody plant species are sensitive to NaCl, and many of these have disappeared from Canadian roadsides. Of the 15 principal tree genera occurring in Canadian forests, 11 have been rated as sensitive to road salt. Threshold values for woody and herbaceous plant forms can be as low as 67.5 ppm in soils, with pine seedlings being the most sensitive; 280 ppm in herbaceous tissues; and 200 ppm in woody tissues. Plants may be sensitive to concentrations of either or both salt ions present in soil. An Ontario study reported a soil chloride concentration of 1,050 ppm in soil taken from a highway median and 890 ppm in soil sampled 10 m from the highway NaCl exposure as low as 100 ppm in soil inhibits seed germination and root growth rates for grasses and wildflowers. As a result of salt concentrations in roadside soils, salt-tolerant halophytic plant species, formerly endemic to coastal wetlands, now colonize inland roadsides (EC, 2000). These species include cattails and Phragmites, both of which can be indicators of degraded wetlands subject to excessive nutrient loading and/or salt contamination.

Damage to vegetation can amplify adverse impacts on drinking-water quality Degradation of soils and vegetation in buffer areas between roads and watercourses compromises the retention and processing of pollutants transported in stormwater runoff and diminishes the beneficial value of buffer zones to groundwater sources and reservoirs. Impacts to water quality can be particularly acute when high level-of-service roads are adjacent to drinking-water reservoirs insulated by narrow buffers,


Damage to vegetation degrades wildlife habitat by destroying food resources, habitat corridors, shelter, and breeding or nesting sites. Behavioral and toxicological impacts to wildlife also are associated with road salts. Sodium-deficient wildlife sometimes travel great distances to ingest road salt. Many animals tend to overshoot their salt deficit and then drink salty snow melt to relieve thirst, which increases salt toxicity in blood and tissues

While wildlife impacts might not be construed as directly relating to water-quality impacts, kills and population declines among salt-sensitive species can be indicators of salt toxicity in aquatic ecosystems.


12 reports of bird kills associated with road salt in the US, Canada, and Germany. Two reports involved kills in excess of 1,000 birds. Seed-eating birds may not be able to distinguish between road-salt crystals and the mineral grit their diets require. Laboratory studies of sparrows consuming salt particles at the upper limits of their known preference range reveal that ingestion of 0.25 NaCl particles (266 mg/kg) results in a breach of homeostasis; ingestion of 1.4 particles (1,500 mg/kg) may result in death (median lethal dose = 2.8 at 3,000 mg/kg). This means behavioral abnormalities can occur in small bird species with ingestion of a single salt particle and death can occur with ingestion of two particles. Salt toxicosis in birds increases their vulnerability to car strike. The local human inhabitants near Mount Revelstoke Park, BC, refer to winter finches as “grille birds” because of the large numbers that collect on the grilles of moving vehicles. Although there is a high correlation between the distribution of winter finches and the Canadian road system receiving salt, risk characterization is difficult to assess in terms of kill frequency because of the various mechanisms–fatal attraction, toxicosis-induced car strike, lethal ingestion–that contribute to mortality. Nevertheless, EC concluded that transportation officials probably underestimated the contribution of road salt to wildlife kills.

Aquatic Biota.
Road-salt loadings in surface waters vary with regional climate conditions, season, and air temperature fluctuation. Snowmelt may proceed gradually overall, but it increases dramatically following application of road salt. Shock loads of salt to aquatic ecosystems might last less than a day following application, with concentration decreasing thereafter. Salt held in solution in snow or deposited on surface soil layers is readily dissolved by rain and can be transported to receiving waters in runoff. Prolonged retention of salt in streambeds or lakebeds decreases dissolved oxygen and can increase nutrient loading, which in turn promotes eutrophication.

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