‘Boil water’ alert
The recent period of good weather has seen a spate of boil-alerts being issued on water supplies throughout the county. One of the most serious of these is in the Knock area where thousands of people have been gathering for the annual Knock novena. Great inconvenience has been caused to householders and business people alike since the alert was introduced on Thursday last and in nearby Kiltimagh a similar alert was issued the previous day. Padraig Flanagan, the Senior Executive Officer for the County Council in the southern region, was quick to dispel suggestions that both these alerts arose from the same problem. "They are totally separate.
I blame the quaint practice of spreading slurry on thin soils where it only takes a matter of hours to reach your drinking water. Slurry is leaking down into the groundwater all over the countryside. But isn’t great that soon nobody in Mayo will have to drink the contamination that is the groundwater beneath us today?
Soon all our tap water will come from surface water - Lough Mask that is. The Mask Scheme has always been a little bit behind the steady march of slurry and E.Coli across Mayo. But the Mask Scheme comes to rescue our tums in the end. Remember when Claremorris had to turn off its taps for weeks on end every summer? And the infamous Ballyhaunis supply - what a joke! Some farmers out there sure had a lot of shlurry to get rid of and what a convenient swallow hole the underground system that was the Ballyhaunis Water Supply proved to be! The same around Hollymount - lots of convenient holes in the ground to swallow the slurry.
And now it’s Kiltimagh and Knock! Not such Holy Water in Knock this week eh? Will they put a health warning on blessing yourself with Holy Water from Knock too? E.Coli 0157, Crytosporidia, Streptococci, and don’t even mention the viruses that might be in that shlurry you are drinking or blessing yourself with! But never mind folks Lough Mask is coming soon. Then the farmers can contaminate ground water surface water any water they like and nobody except the poor fish or gollums will know any different because everyone is drinking Lough Mask instead. Ditto for the auctioneers and ribbon boys – build dem septic tanks. Nobody is drinking the septic outflow any more. We'll finish up with a prayer: Please God! Let nothing happen to Lough Mask! Amen! Now where's me Holy Water?
Divers free basking shark
A basking shark had a lucky escape near Achill after becoming entangled in lobster pot lines. The 15-foot giant was saved by the prompt actions of three kind-hearted seafarers. Photographers Francis Stockwell from Galway and Mike McSweeney from Cork were in the area with boatman Mike Collins to capture some marine life on camera when they came across the exhausted young adult shark near Bill’s Rock. The ropes from the lobster pots ran around his mouth, over his dorsal fin and around his tail. They began to cut the shark free but it was a long and arduous task. The nylon lines were bound tightly around his body and it took very careful manipulation to free him.
There were some wonderful photos of this one during the week. Twas like something from Man of Aran or David Attenborough's Blue Planet. Not for the faint hearted whether the sharks were plankton feeders or not.
Bord na Mona bonanza
THE heatwave conditions in recent weeks have resulted in Bord na Mona in Mayo achieving its peat harvest target for the first time in seven years. Workers on the bogs in Erris will continue working from 8 am. to 10 pm, seven days a week to build up stocks. "The stocks were extremely low at the start of this year. We will continue harvesting and building up stocks despite the fact the Bellacorick Station is due to close at the end of next year," said Richard Cosgrove, general manager, Bord na Mona. This year it had achieved its target of 350,000 tons of peat, last year it achieved only 61 per cent. And at this time last year only three per cent of the target had been reached. "Last year most of the peat was harvested late in September when there was some good weather," Mr. Cosgrove said.
It’s funny that nobody objects to the Bellacorick incinerator burning organic matter comprising carbon, nitrogen phosphorus potassium and a range of trace metals. Nobody objects to the ravaging of "thousand year old carbon" as J Mitchell might have put it. The opposite in fact - it’s a good thing - when Bord na Mona's ravaging, burning and pillaging of the environment actually comes in ahead of target. The week when a government minister is ‘incensed’ by incense burning as a health hazard to altar servers – because of the "carcinogenic carbon" you know - affecting the alveoli of the young altar servers as McDaid put it today at lunch time on RTE (I kid you not!). The week when we are all aghast at those Icelanders killing whales again. The week when planning objections are lodged against the very Bellacorick windmills that are going to put a stop to the despoiling of the bogs. But hey it’s nearly all gone now anyway and ‘tis just rural development folks!