Read about Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland's ideas for a changing environment!
Vol. VII, Issue 2
Ireland Going Green?
Does the headline make any sense
at all? The emerald isle, known
for it's green fields and meadows, can't possibly get any greener, can it?
Ireland's brightest minds are
working on the challenges of climate change, alternative energy,
sustainability, and related environmental concerns.
A few stories in this edition of Common Ground highlight some of that
activity. The green revolution,
sweeping the developed world, is real. It
is the result of our collective moral obligation to care for this planet.
Of course, the cost savings related to green design have fortified
the movement toward energy independence, reducing the carbon footprint, and
other sustainability initiatives.
Western Pennsylvania and Eastern
Ohio readers are well aware of the many local and state government bodies,
private companies and academic institutions in our region working on these
problems. Slippery Rock
University hosts the Pennsylvania Center for Environmental Education and the
McKeever Environmental Learning Center. Case
Western University has the Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation.
And communities across the rust "belt" are doing their part. Lake Erie and Pittsburgh's rivers are cleaner than they were thirty
years ago. Urban gardens are on
the rise, and the air is cleaner. But,
there is still a lot of work to do in these areas.
Ireland is no different.
The heavy industry that drove Northern Ireland's economy through the
19th and 20th centuries left contaminated ground, polluted waterways, and
dirty air. Today Belfast is a
relatively clean city, much like Pittsburgh.
As we look at ways to connect Ireland with Pittsburgh and the greater tri-state area, the important research and economic implications of green technology, sustainability, and alternative energy present a great opportunity.
Jim Lamb, President
Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh
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IRELAND IS PICKING UP
Ireland is getting on track and cleaning up their towns. A survey, by Irish Business Against Litter, has found that cleanliness in Dublin city has improved noticeably, and that almost 60% of Irish towns are deemed clean to European levels. Dublin City is ranked 16 among 55 towns that have been surveyed, and Howth has been named Ireland's cleanest town in the latest annual survey.
A record number of Irish towns, approximately two-thirds, have been classified as “litter-free.” When the Anti-Litter League was first drawn up by IBAL seven years ago, 60% of Irish towns were classified as “litter black spots.” But now, 36 out of the 55 largest towns are considered clean to European "norms."
This is a big success for Ireland. With the changing times and the improvements that have been made to Ireland as a whole, it only seemed right for them to continue their journey by changing their environment.
OIL SPILL HEADING TOWARDS IRELAND
Concerns continually grow over
the potential environmental impact of a massive oil spill that threatens the
beaches on Ireland's south-east coast. The
spill is believed to be 1000 tons, which is an increase from the original
thought of 300 tons. It could hit
the Wexford coast in two weeks.
This incident was discovered
close to where a two Russian vessels, the Admiral Kuznetsov and the Admiral
Chabanenko, were refueling in the Celtic Sea, however, it could not be said if
the incident was from the refueling operation.
The slick, which is breaking up
and spreading over a larger area, is moving eastwards around 30-40 miles off
the south coast towards the south-east corner of Ireland.
Some of the oil is expected to evaporate or dissolve into the water,
while the majority of surface oil is expected to develop into “tar balls.”
Declan Geoghegan, operations
manager with the Irish Coast Guard, said it was not guaranteed that the oil
would come ashore.
"At this time we are saying
there is a possibility it won't," he said. "It may travel a course
in an easterly direction, but in cooperation with the UK we are keeping a very
close eye on the oil slick, and we envisage that it won't come ashore on the
Irish coast at this time."
"At this point it is too
early to accurately predict what volumes may come ashore and therefore what
environmental, commercial and visual impact is involved," a spokeswoman
from the Department of Transport said.
Both the Irish Coast Guard and the UK Coastguard are carrying out aerial surveillance flights, using special sonar equipment, over the area while a boat is being launched from Cork to carry out tests to see if the oil is recoverable at sea.
Any oil which lands on the south-east coast will be recovered with machines by local authorities, with assistance from the Coast Guard.
QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY CONTINUES ENERGY RESEARCH
University and a leading marine energy company, Aquamarine Power, announced a
new five year research partnership which will seek to develop the next
generation hydro-electric wave power converter —an off-shore power station.
Their existing partnership has resulted in the development of a prototype
hydro-electric device, which is to be tested for the first time this summer at
the European marine Energy Center.
Oyster wave power device is designed to capture the energy found in the surge
forces of waves close to the shore. A
team, from the company, will model several devices in state-of-the-art wave
tanks in the university's civil engineering department and at their marine
biology center at Portaferry.
team will monitor leading, survivability and how the devices interact with
each other to guarantee continuous output in all sea states.
Trevor Whittaker, head of the Wave Power Research Group and recognized as
being among the best in the world, said he was very pleased to strengthen the
links with Aquamarine.
Martin McAdam, chief executive of Aquamarine, said, “This agreement provides Aquamarine with access to Queen’s University Belfast’s world-class wave power test facilities, and that will enable Aquamarine to enhance the design of Oyster as a market leading technology, and gives us access to the brightest PhD students.”
The Government has published a
€4.5bn plan for sustainable transport by 2020.
This plan, called “Smarter Travel”, aims to move 500,000 people
from cars to a different type of transportation.
This transportation is being called “more sustainable forms of
Other points of interest, deemed
as part of the “smarter travel,” include goals such as slashing CO2
emissions by at least 4 million tons, having a target of 150,000 people
traveling to work by bicycle, and accounting all electric vehicles as 10
percent of all vehicles.
An all island, car sharing
website is also planned, with regional e-working centers, to help cut
commuting times. Also, more park and ride facilities, on the outskirts of major
cities, are being planned.
BORD GÁIS ENTERS ELECTRIC MARKET
Bord Gáis, a famous gas company, has announced that the company will enter into the electricity market. The company, which supplies gas to more than 630,000 homes, says it aims to become the second biggest energy player in Ireland. They also plan to be the first “dual fuel” supplier in the Republic by offering gas and electricity to homes. Bord Gáis said its prices could be up to 14 per cent cheaper than the ESB.
John Mullins, chief executive of Bord Gáis, said that, “domestic gas prices could fall by up to one quarter over the course of the year, cutting over €200 off the average annual bill.”
Minister for Energy Eamon
Ryan said increased competition in the electricity market would help national
competitiveness and the spending power of consumers.
Fine Gael welcomed the company's entry into the domestic electricity supply market but said the Government's decision to keep energy prices artificially high by not changing the regulatory model, meant that customers would still be paying over the odds.This news was also welcomed by Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, and the Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI). The (CAI) said today's announcement would provide households with more choice at a critical time.
COST OF FUEL LOWERS
After months of being one of the most expensive places to buy petrol, the cost of unleaded fuel in Northern Ireland has finally fallen below the UK average. New figures from the AA show that local prices now sit around 86.4p per liter, compared to a UK mean of 86.65p.
The statistics also indicate that
the cost of both petrol and diesel has dropped more in Ulster than in any
other UK region, with reductions of 3.5p and 4p a liter at the pumps
AA Public Affairs spokesman Luke
Bosdet said, “supermarkets were partly responsible for the falling
“When you look at price reductions at supermarkets versus non-supermarkets, there is evidence to suggest that supermarkets are trying to get more people into their stores via lower fuel prices,” he said.
“Regionally, concerted action by smaller fuel retailers taking on supermarkets has seen the average price of petrol there fall below the UK average for the first time in seven months. “But elsewhere, rural areas along the border continue to be the more expensive places for petrol.”
PENSIONS LEVY BILL
Legislation, to give effect to the Government levy on public service pensions, was published today. Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan is expected to bring the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2009 before the Dáil.
Under the Bill, public servants earning over €20,000 will pay a 10 percent levy on their salaries, while those earning less will be liable to pay the levy at a reduced rate. Anyone earning up to €15,000 will pay a rate of 3 percent, while those earning between €15,000 and €20,000 will pay 6 percent. All earnings, including allowances and overtime, will be subject to the levy.
The Bill provides the Minister
for Health the ability to make regulations to cut the rates of payments made
by the State towards health professionals for public health services, for a
reduction in the early childcare payment, and for deferral of certain payments
The Minister for Finance will carry out a review of the legislation before June 30th, 2010 and will consider whether any of its provisions continue to be necessary, in light of overall economic circumstances.
WORLD CUP BID
England and Wales have delivered a multi-million euro offer to the Irish Rugby Football Union after declaring their intentions to launch a joint bid for the 2015 Rugby World Cup – a competition which could have put around €500m into the Irish economy, if held here in conjunction with the other three home unions.
A report from auditors Deloitte & Touché last year estimated that a host nation could receive up to £2.1bn in economic benefits. If Ireland would have been one of four joint hosts, they would have hoped to share in that figure.
Welsh Rugby chief Roger Lewis had previously called for the “celebration of rugby” to be shared amongst the home unions, however, last weekend, he changed his mind. “My preferred option would be for us to be part of that England bid with us hosting pool stages and a quarter-final at the Millennium Stadium,” he said.
“England will bid for the World Cup,” said Thomas, England’s Rugby Football Union President. “We have certainly had very good discussions with the Welsh in terms of using the facilities they have, particularly the Millennium Stadium but also the Ospreys and maybe the new Cardiff stadium.”
Eight different countries have expressed an interest in hosting the 2015 event – Italy, South Africa, Australia, Japan and the four home nations.
WidER HORIZONS 2009 - Host FaMily Program
If you are interested in becoming a Host Family for 2009, please contact Robert Tierney at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (412) 394-3900.
Help the Institute:
Please visit www.picttheatre.org or call 412-394-3353 for details.
Sunday, February 22
Gaelic Arts Society of Pittsburgh will sponsor a program on the life and career of Bing Crosby, presented by Kenneth Gray. The movie “The Top of the Morin’” will be shown. 412.761.1844.
Wolfe Tones- @
Wake 20 General Robinson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Saturday, February 28
Irish Fest 2009 at St. Teresa of Avila, Mass – 6:00PM, Irish Dinner – 7:15PM, Entertainment with Guaranteed Irish and Bell School of Irish Dance. Raffles & Door Prizes, Tickets 412-367-9001 or Bud Burke (AOH Div. 4 412-366-6720).
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Button Party, 5:00pm at Mitchell’s Restaurant & Bar, 304 Ross Street, Downtown Pittsburgh.
Sunday, March 8
‘Irish Night – Row on for Brendan’ at Central Catholic High School, 4720 Fifth Ave., Oakland. 13th Annual Concert benefiting the Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic Rowing Teams. Entertainment featuring Guaranteed Irish, Hooley, Michael Gallagher, Irish Step-Dancers, Bagpipers and the CCHS Chamber Choir. Reception with Irish scones and tea following the show. This event was the subject of WQED’s Emmy award-winning program “Row On For Brendan” and memorializes CCHS rower Brendan Foley. Tickets www.proartstickets.org/events/view/299. or 412-394-3353. Information http://irishnight.org/ Email: email@example.com.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, stepping off from Mellon Arena at 10:00 AM with celebrations to follow with the following groups at the following establishments:
· Smithfield Cafe/Guaranteed Irish
of Equity Celebration at The Sports Rock Café, Smallman St. in The
Strip from Noon
Ceili Club Celebration from Noon at Epiphany Church Hall.
Pour House, Carnegie
Harp and Fiddle, in The Strip
The River City Inn at
PPG Plaza with Mike Gallagher, from
11:30 / Noon till 6:00PM.
Puskar, performing at Barley’s & Hops in Bethel Park / South
Claddagh Irish Pub & Restaurant, South Side Works
Tuesday, March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day –
Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., in The Strip, 412-642-6622
Claddagh Irish Pub & Restaurant, South Side Works, 412-381-4800.
Irish Centre of Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill
All Ireland Social at the American Legion Hall, 5857 Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill, 8:00PM. Music with CCE Musicians. Information: Ray Connolly at 412-373-7252.
become a regular at these local programs!
The Echoes of Erin is marking its 21st year! It airs every Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. on WEDO, 810 AM. Diane Byrnes continues to provide Irish music, news, and other great information from the Emerald Isle. Keep up the good work, Diane!
Paddy's Pour House located on Main Street in Carnegie, PA hosts live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night starting at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday nights, come for Irish Night: Guinness, Smithwick's, and Half and Half specials 8-12 p.m. For more information, visit their website or call (412) 279-0770.
Catch the Thistle and Shamrock every Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. on WYEP 91.3FM for Celtic music performances and discussions.
We're always looking for events to include: If you'd like to include your next event in this newsletter, please send event information including date, time, location, admission cost, and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club 2009 Schedule
For more information contact: email@example.com
IRISH ENTERTAINERS WEBSITES
Performance Schedules, Etc.
from Johnstown PA -
Balderose - http://www.pittsburghpiper.com/
of Souls - http://www.carnivalofsouls.com
Gallagher - http://www.mike-gallagher.com/
Griffith - http://www.pittsburghirish.org/griffith
Irish - http://www.guaranteedirish.info/
Beef & Curry - http://www.cornedbeefncurry.com/
Murphy & TSRB http://www.michaelmurphy.us/
Hand Paddy - http://www.redhandpaddy.com/
Rolling Scones - http://www.rollingscones.com
Irish Dance Schools
Bell School of Irish Dance http://bellschool.com/about.htm
Burke Irish Dancers
Pittsburgh Irish Reelers
Shovlin Academy of Dance http://www.shovlinacademy.com/
Pittsburgh Ceili Club
Irish Rowing Club (PIRC)
Pittsburgh Banshees firstname.lastname@example.org
Pittsburgh Celtics www.pittsburghcelticsgfc.com
The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh’s mission is to promote mutual understanding of the Catholic and Protestant traditions in Northern Ireland and economic development throughout all of Ireland. The Institute fulfills its mission by providing quality programs in job training, economic development, leadership development, educational alliances and reconciliation. The Institute is a change-oriented organization that collaborates with industry, educational and government institutions in the development of all programs.
The Ireland Institute relies on its donor and
volunteer network to continue its mission of mutual reconciliation and
economic development. Your generosity is kindly appreciated.
All articles are adapted from www. rte.ie, the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Examiner, BBC, and other news sources.