enforcement the only answer?

One of life’s unwritten rules: There will always be those who obey the law without question, and there will always be those who don’t. So, I think it’s fair to say that unless the law is enforced, there’s a very good chance it will be ignored.

And although ignorance is not considered a defence, a lot of the population is actually unaware of the law in relation to the disposal of waste. They know it costs money, but are they aware of the fines? more importantly aware of the dangers?

gnorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat
(Latin for “ignorance of the law does not excuse” or “ignorance of the law excuses no one”) is a legal principle …                 Source Wikipedia

Following on from a piece I wrote earlier in the year
“a new breed of gansters”,
I ask the question? What is the solution?

The policy is in place.

A Resource Opportunity
Waste Management Policy in Ireland 

The office of environmental enforcement works with local authorities and other public sector bodies involved through the network for ireland’s environmental compliance and enforcement (NIECE). The function of NIECE is to harness the collective resources, expertise and investigative capacity of all the agencies engaged in dealing with environmental crime in Ireland.

Headlines such as Aughrim man fined €750 for burning waste show that enforcement in place in Wicklow and they encourage the public to report litter offences, assuring them of confidentiality via their website

PURE Lo-call no 1850 36 51 21 so you can conveniently report litter offences or call the Main Environmental Office on 0404 20296 or email env@wicklowcoco.ie

Leitrim county council don’t have any enforcement policies (that I can find) displayed on their website and  have deferred the Pay-by-Weight Waste Collection System until 1st December 2014.
Longford County Council from time to time carry out waste surveys to establish what method of waste disposal each household is currently using. They have never contacted me. I have been living here for 13 years.
Galway and Limerick county councils offer details of The Waste Management (Prohibition of Waste Disposal by Burning) Regulations 2009, but no mention of enforcement, while Louth have lots of information on their Promotion of Litter Control through both education and enforcement section. They are also  running an innovative  Where Have You Bin’ competition in conjunction with iRadio to promote awareness ..…… Some councils don’t even have a link to their waste policy on their home page. Sligo Council is one that is taking this seriously and enacted by-laws to address the issue. But more importantly they enforce the law. They visit householders and ask for documentation on waste disposal.


How many  local authorities are actually enforcing the law?

Is your local council?

It must be within their remit to:

  1. Implement by-laws for the enforcement of proof of disposal of waste;
  2. Educate people on the harm that is caused to ourselves, our families and our communities by damaging our environment with the burning of household. 

When contacted the majority of local councils offered lack of resourses due to the moratorium on public recruitment as the reason for failure to apply the law.

Yet it seems to be unlimited public funds are available for the ongoing enforcement of  the TV Licence law Or the Public Service Broadcasting Charge as it is to become- you don’t even need a TV now to be liable for the charge! They advertise on TV and on Radio; inspectors are available nationwide to crack down on offenders; fines and jail sentances are a common occurance.

But enforcing a law to stop causing unnecessary harm to our health and to the environment – no money – NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

EcoEvolution’s MaryGethings writes about the dangers it her blog:
Burning of waste ~ Not in my back yard!

So, what can we do to stop this?
We must lobby our councils, our county councillers and our TDs.
We must insist that this illegal practice is stopped.
We must stop the burning of plastics and toxins.

This is too important a matter to leave to those that don’t seem to care.
Click here for a list of county council contact details

A great website/tool for reporting local problems is
Fix My Local area

Fresh clean air is a human right.
We must protect it from the everyday criminals.

jFresh Air


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a new breed of gangsters

We have a new breed of gangsters in our midst. What do they look like? Just like you and me. Like friends. Like Family.

Are they stealing from the poor? or the rich? No, they are stealing from our children.

Is it the government? Is it the banks?, I hear you ask while mirrornodding your head sagely? No, it is the ordinary man or woman queueing beside you in the supermarket; it’s your neighbours.                 It might even be you.

This pervasive offence  has sprung up since the introduction of waste charges.

People are burning their rubbish.

That’s ILLEGAL folks! It’s breaking the law. It’s polluting the atmosphere. It’s ILLEGAL. It’s UNLAWFUL.

Failure to comply with these regulations is an offence and fines of up to €3,000 may be imposed.

It has to stop.

Image courtesy of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Image courtesy of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Burning waste in your home or garden can damage your health, your children’s health and your neighbour’s health.

It causes the release of toxic dioxins which are a real hazard for peoples’ health and the environment.

People may think that they are doing the right thing by reducing the amount of waste going to land fill, but they’re not. Burning household rubbish is illegal, dangerous to health and destroying our atmosphere in which ever order you wish to choose!

“If your neighbour or someone else you see is illegally burning waste, then in the interest of your own health and the environment, please report the incident to the 24 hour National Environmental Complaints Line, lo-call telephone number 1850 365 121.  More information on making environmental complaints can be viewed in our leaflet ‘See Something? Say something!’.”

How to make an environmental complaint

So what to do? Join me over the coming weeks. I will look at what can be done and what is being done.

In the meantime, Look in the mirror. Is it you?


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LITTER #getthemdown

“Litter consists of waste products that have been disposed improperly, without consent, at an inappropriate location.” Wikipedia

Last week I wrote a piece about  pollution by election posters.  get them down

Canvassing for votes ended on May 23rd. at 10.00 p.m. Candidates had 7 days to remove their promotional mug shots from our landscape. They didn’t need 7 days to get them up!

On Wednesday I drove to Galway. A few still lined the roadways, mainly belonging to those who won’t hold public office this time around, including the guy whose printer must be a happy bunnie. The guy who was part of the Longford Westmeath Bye-election. The guy on every pole in every direction.

On ThursdayI had occasion to visit Sligo. Same story. A few straglers including the Bye guy on every pole in all directions.

This evening I was travelling closer to home, a beautiful rural road between Edgeworthswown and Ballinalee. Chocolate box pretty in the evening sunshine. And lo and behold I rounded the bend and what did I see? Loud and proud at 6.15 p.m.? LITTER

On every pole in every direction LITTER


So have you come accross any litter today?

Report it

A full list of all the local authorities and contact details

What penalties are in place for breaches of the legislation governing election/referendum posters?
The responsibility for enforcement of litter law lies with the local authority. Any election/referendum posters in place before or after the stipulated timeframe are deemed to be in breach of the legislation and are subject to an on-the-spot litter fine of 150 euro. Local authorities are also responsible for the removal of posters which constitute a hazard to either pedestrians or road users. Complaints about such posters should be made directly to the appropriate local authority stipulating their exact location to enable local authorities arrange for their removal.

Don’t forget to check into our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/GetThemDown


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an unexpected day

The alarm clock went off at 5.07 this morning and I asked myself “Am I mad or just mad?”

Heading to Cavan for a 6.45 meeting was not my idea of a “fun day” To attend a meeting to tell people that our small company exists


To listen to others doing the same. Small business. The lifeblood of the economy. And believe me, getting me out of bed at that time is the blood part of bloood sweat and tears!

I don’t do mornings.

One of the benefits of self employment, or self unemployment as it has been an many occasions in the past,  is that you can  be flexible. I don’t “do” mornings, except when I can’t avoid them,  so I market the company online in the evening or while burning the  midnight oil when I am, I hope,  cheerful and articulate rather than a grumpy bear.

But there are other benefits like my unexpected day.

My husband had a medical appointment this morning, deemed Urgent by the referring Optometrist. His G.P. also said Urgent,  so thoughts of a nap #unhumanhourtobeupat went out the window as a trip to Sligo was unexpectededly on the menu. He wouldn’t be capable of driving home. “Urgent meant Today  said the G.P.

So the car was loaded. Gilbert, Taylor, medical referrals, water, bananas, lead, poop bags, flip flops, towels and me.  always ready.

YTaylor and mees I was worried about Gil’s eye, but I was going to the beach! Like a child, I still want to be the first one to see the sea.  And  to visit “new” beaches on my own with just my dog is pure joy.

And I also love roads that I haven’t travelled before.

Is it only me or does anyone else love driving on a new stretch of motorway for the very first time? or am I just mad?

I’ve never been to Rosses Point. A new road on which to make a “1st time wish”. What was my wish? That the third medical professional in as many days would not say “Urgent”

So Taylor and I ran – well, she ran, I walked – on our new beach; another wish, the same one; “URGENT”; we paddled and splashed in the shallows and had great fun. The sun came out and we shared a couple of hours together on our own. 

sligo6 sligo5

Then I got the call, this time the specialist didn’t say Urgent.


Yes, he needs more tests, but it’s not Urgent.

“1st time wishes” can come true.

But I digress. Self employment and some of the benefits? Today, my unexpected day,  was one of those benefits.

Some times when you need one, you can give yourself a day off.

sometimes you just have to give yourself a day off

sometimes you just have to give yourself a day off


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get them down

Get them down

Everywhere I go.  Every day.

. Election Posters.

On every pole. On every surface. Falling down. Spinning round. Straight roads, roundabouts, more of the same and the same and the same and the same

1 town to lucan

City centre to Lucan 1

. Election Posters.

I don’t wish to deny the financial bonus for printing companies, sign erectors and even the candidates themselves,  once elected.

But, Why so many?

. Election Posters

2 town to lucan

City centre to Lucan 2

The same candidate’s poster on every pole for a 2 km stretch of road. On both sides. In every village. In every town. In every city. In every gap in the mountain. In case you missed it!

. Election Posters

GREEN election+posters+kerry+3

A roundabout in Kerry

Parties that espouse care for the environment.

How long does it take for plastic to decompose? How many trees to produce paper?

. Election Posters

One of our local candidates did not use posters. He said it was a local election and that everyone knew him?  But, my daughter never heard of him and didn’t know he was a candidate. So are we stuck with

. Election Posters

So this is the day that they have all been waiting for. So what is going to happen to all the

. Election Posters

Will they take them down immediately? Candidates are allowed leave them up for 7 days after the poll.

But Why? Why do we need to have their faces loom over us for another 7 days? Why can’t we have our beautiful country restored to us immediately?dublin election_posters

. Election Posters

Why not give our tourists what they paid for? A beautiful country full of majestic scenery and historic cityscapes, NOT

. Election Posters250px-Recycle001.svg

And what will become of them?

How will they dispose of them? Responsibly?

. Election Posters

Let’s work together to ensure that their first act of doing something for this country is to

Get them down

. Election Posters

 The Face book page http://www.facebook.com/GetThemDown

is a place where you can post  your images and give your opinion on

. Election Posters

Have you seen Funny election posters;  Badly parked election vehicles;  Hilarious spelling?

We have a  “Bye-Election” in our area.

Is there a “Buy Election” anywhere around the country?

No printers name? Renewable, Recyclable paper?

Let us know and spread the word.

Let’s clean up our country together, sustainably.

For more information on Election Posters from the Department of Environment, Community and LocalGovernment  click here

How many days after polling day do posters have to be removed?

Candidates must remove all posters within 7 days of the poll.  These requirements for election posters are set out under section 19 of the Litter Pollution Act 1997 and the Electoral (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2009.

What penalties are in place for breaches of the legislation governing election/referendum posters?

The responsibility for enforcement of litter law lies with the local authority. Any election/referendum posters in place before or after the stipulated timeframe are deemed to be in breach of the legislation and are subject to an on-the-spot litter fine of 150 euro. Local authorities are also responsible for the removal of posters which constitute a hazard to either pedestrians or road users. Complaints about such posters should be made directly to the appropriate local authority stipulating their exact location to enable local authorities arrange for their removal.

Relevant Legislation

  1. Litter Pollution Act 1997, amended by the Electoral (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2009
  2. Protection of the Environment Act 2003
  3. Planning and Development Regulations 2001-2013
  4. European Parliament Elections Act 1997
  5. Local Elections Regulations 1995
  6. Referendum Act 1994
  7. Electoral Act 1992
  8. Road Traffic Act 1961

Further Information

Franchise Section
Phone: +353 (0)1 888 2424

Waste Policy Section
Phone: +353 (0)53 911 7477

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did you know?

We all talk about Carbon Tax…

Those of us who use fossil fuels to power and heat our homes know to the “cent” the amount of the increase on May 1st. and what it means to our budget.

But do we know for example, why the bag of coal increased by €1.05 per 40 kg. bag?             If your supplier has added more, it’s not Carbon Tax!carbon footprint

Or indeed why wood fuel is exempt for Carbon Tax?

My colleague Richard Hadfield has answered these questions in plain English and I’d like to share this here with you.

1 May 2014 – A date in the diary for Carbon Tax

If you burn wood fuel, this will warm your heart!

On 1 May 2014, carbon tax on solid fuel will increase from €10/tonCO₂ to €20/tonCO₂.   The tax was first imposed on solid fuel on 1 May 2013 which increased prices by €1.05 per 40kg bag.  It now goes up to €2.11 per 40kg bag on 1st.  May 2014 so that Carbon Tax will be about 15% of the cost of a bag of coal.

Carbon tax also applies to peat briquettes which will increase to € 36.67 per ton of product so that a bale (12.5 kg) will attract carbon tax of €0.46 (11% of the cost).

The tax is paid by the first seller within the country so, unlike VAT, it will not be added by the guys at the fuel depot.  It is calculated using the carbon content of the fuel times a conversion factor of 3.664 times the carbon price per ton.

Revenue have been very fair by standardising the carbon content of coal at 72% so, if you buy very good quality coal such as Welsh or South African anthracite with over 92% carbon content, you’re actually “cheating” Revenue.

However, to grin broadly, you need to be burning wood fuel which has NO carbon tax.

The carbon in your firewood is not fossil as it is part of an active carbon cycle of about 30 years whereby carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere by the tree and released when one burns it.   Wood fuel users can rely on a stable price for fuel.

Wood is about 50% carbon so you can tell yourself that you’re saving €36.64 per ton!

FirewoodPellets sample

Richard is the Managing Director of Progressive Certification, a certification body listing among its services:

  • greenhouse gas verification in partnership with DNV.
  • carbon footprinting services to ISO 14064-1.
  • certification of fuel products: Coal to SWiFT 7:2010 and Wood Fuel to NWA 4:2009.
  • fully accredited QMS, EMS and OHSAS certification.
  • energy management certification services to ISO 50001.

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wood …the natural answer

As carbon tax rises…..wood is the natural answer

Pat's Blog

Things to consider when using wood as a fuel

One of the most common mistakes people make is to burn green, non-seasoned wood. Green wood can contain up to 75% moisture, a figure that has a considerable effect on the calorific value (heat output) of the wood, since part of the heat released is used to evaporate the water content and is then dispersed into the flue along with the water vapour produced. Wood for burning in a wood stove must first be seasoned for  about 18-24 months,  to reduce its moisture content to 15-20%.

Seasoned wood Seasoned wood

All wood can be divided into two categories: “hard” or “soft”, according to its weight in kg per cubic meter of wood.

Softwood, weighing approx. 300–350 kg/m³, includes spruce, pine, poplar, alder, chestnut and willow. It burns more rapidly, producing greater heat: this makes it ideal for starting the fire, although if used…

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it … Continue reading

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0.66666666666 at The Discovery Zone

We’re getting busy. Really busy.


At this stage, if it was a house-build and not a business project, the site is sitting there ready, plans are drawn, planning permission granted, contractors researched, prices compared (a bit more study required here, but a general idea in place!)

There are brochures scattered around of finishes and furniture and  and and….; and your head is full of stuff. Buzzing.

But there is still no house.

That’s where we are at the moment. A lot of prep work done, but we still have to put our business project in place.

So, 4 weeks left (0.33333333333) and it’s time to rewrite the TO-DO list and put some shape on it.

Again using the analogy of a house, the contractors must be hired, the materials purchased, the machinery must break ground, and the schedule of works is put in place.

It’s time to spend! And do. And do some more.

Be it time, money or a combination of both, the real work must begin on construction.

And the thrill of seeing it come to life; And the fear like that of a parent for a newborn….


So it’s busy. Really busy.

at The Discovery Zone http://www.discoveryzone.gerrymoan.ie/

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so the journey has begun

2 weeks ago I started at the Discovery Zone.


I didn’t know what to anticipate, but even the introduction has proved to be way above my expectations.

In two weeks, I have met good people who will travel the journey with me, and already I know that some of these people, in fact, probably all of them, will be a big part of my future.

I feel more optimism and buzz about my business than I have in a long time.  Not the fleeting kind of motivation you get from hearing a motivational speaker at an event, but a deeper feeling of confidence and certainty that has been absent for quite a while.

I see opportunity for me, for my business, and for all of us starting this journey together.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat!

Team Building

L-R   Liam; Me (Pat); Brian and Anthony         

learning that you can always find more than one way to do something

I know the “work” will be intense, but a wise person once said:

“Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life” – Harvey MacKay

I am ready for this.

To use another adage  “The harder I work, the luckier I get”

And I do work hard, so I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to avail of this set of stepping stones to bring my business to the level both it and I deserve.

Looking forward to being in the Discovery Zone for the next 3 months.

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