Preliminary Island of Ireland Survey Results Launch

On December 11th the Preliminary Results Launch and first follow up Workshop were hosted in Trinity College Dublin.

See programme and list of 2017 surveyors.

Materials launched:

The Preliminary Water Quality Results report. The surveyors can comment until January 20th 2018.

The Summary Results without graphics which were then provided in presentations (that will be available here).

Forty delegates made it from all parts of the island despite of ice and snow, which did unfortunately halt travel for the Galway delegation.

After a hearty welcome by Prof Brian Broderick head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, TCD, Karin Dubsky presented an overview of survey results, illustrated by materials on the front benches.  This was followed by a focus on storm Ophelia, from Portuguese man of war pre storm records to headline impacts on the S and SE coast by Rory Keatinge. Paddy Houlihan presented a case study from the Waterford coast where his stream mouth was first put into a concrete box to manage flow and then fully gagged by the storm – creating a serious flood risk behind the shore.

The water quality results  overview was presented by Antoine Warrant and then set into the legislation and official monitoring frame by Dr Robert Wilkes from the EPA.

Senator Grace O Sullivan launched results with a lovely speech injecting personal experience as Coastwatch surveyor, as Green Peace activist and now as politician. Her message was that there are was a need and opportunities to act no matter what shoes you are wearing.

After a networking break, 5 groups formed to discuss results and follow up action. Bullet points results were presented and will be uploaded next week.

Theme 1 Storm and Climate change:

Table 1 Coastal planning, development and monitoring needs with recommendations for the forthcoming Foreshore bill. Facilitator: Dr Michael Gunn; Rapporteur Rory Keating

Table 2 Waste: Eroding landfill sites and objects/materials used in the marine environment lost in storms, plastic waste and microplastic. Facilitator: Dr Trevor Orr; Rapp: Roslyn Shaw

An introductory PowerPoint on plastic and alternative geotextile was presented by Trevor.

Table 3 Biodiversity: Dealing with storm effects and building resilience.  Facilitator: Dr. Trish Murphy, Rapporteur: Bernie Connolly

Theme 2. Transitional and Coastal water quality

Table 4:Citizen science applied to protecting our transitional and coastal waters.  Facilitator and Rapporteur: Michael Walsh

Table 5: Brexit and protecting/managing the quality of our border loughs. Facilitator and Rapporteur: Dave Wall, Ulster Wildlife.

Coffee Mugs: Participants were asked to bring their own mugs and 29 out of 39 did so. Cup bearing delegates were then invited to participate in a raffle for which Bray Sea Life Aquarium sponsored a free family entry. Maire O’Brien was the lucky winner.

Anne Laird announced that Skerries Tidy Towns had, after thorough research, decided on a bamboo drink in or take away coffee mug which would be stocked and accepted for filling by many Skerries cafes. Available from December 12th.

Christmas tree: A Christmas tree with presents and unwanted presents from the sea was erected in the Museum Building entrance.


We were delighted with interest and participation of three journalists for most of the event. Results were then mentioned on the 1 o clock radio news, Drive Time RTE radio[1] – with a super 6 minute feature on different aspects of the survey including Dr Trish Murphy – Donegal, Annie Falmo – Sealife centre Bray, Dave Wall – Ulster Wildlife NI, Bernie Connolly – Cork, Darach Ó Murchú – Kerry and Karin Dubsky. Then there was a 6 o clock TV piece[2] with our call for a deposit on return for drinks containers, obtained at near freezing temperature on Ringsend beach which looked almost pristine clean on the day but there is always some litter. Also there was sizable IT article [3] from Kevin O Sullivan with broad results overview (IT Dec 12th P 6), an article on the RTE website[4] on plastic bottles on the shore and  one from Donegal news.

[1]!rii=b9%5F10812110%5F83%5F11%2D12%2D2017%5F, start listening at 2:18:20.


[3] « Coastwatch survey reveals myriad litter and pollution problems » by Kevin O’Sulllivan. (  )

[4] “8,800 plastic bottles counted on Irish shores – survey”  by RTE online. ( )


One other paper is planning a major campaign in the new year. One aspect of many will be marine litter hotspots. So if there is one near you which you think either was created over time and needs to be shifted, or a place where naturally the sea tries to give us back unwanted plastic presents then please get onto us asap for the  Coastwatch hot spot list.

Acknowledgments :

Thank you to all who participated, spoke, helped, full lists to follow next week with the workshops report and PowerPoint presentations.

Photo gallery:
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