President Mary McAleese visits EPA Headquarters

Date released: Jun 15 2011

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, today visited Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters at Johnstown Caste Estate, Wexford where she reviewed EPA initiatives and addressed EPA staff.

In her address to EPA staff, the President said,

“The Environmental Protection Agency has a broad and constantly evolving remit that is more than a task, it is a mission.   I would like to thank each one of you for making this mission your own personal vocation and your life’s work. You promote a culture that protects and conserves our environment.  You engage with all the partners you need to bring on board to make sure that Crew Ireland are helping steer the good ship earth in a direction that is sensible and good for all of humankind.

I congratulate you on the high standards you constantly set yourselves and achieve; standards which are admired internationally and which make me very proud to be in your company today.”

During her visit, President Mary McAleese had an opportunity to be briefed on three EPA citizen-focussed programmes that promote waste prevention and support environmental protection.  These were:

• The Splash website: the EPA’s innovative bathing water website, which provides the latest bathing water quality results for each bathing area during the bathing season, ensuring that the general public, and visitors to Ireland, can make informed choices about where to bathe.

• The Environment in Focus website: a user-friendly site which provides a useful resource for those interested in obtaining information on recent trends in the Irish environment and allows easier public access to environmental data.

• The BeGreen Website: a new resource which brings together all of the guides and waste prevention programmes that have been put in place by the EPA, local authorities and other partners to promote waste prevention in Ireland.

President McAleese continued,

“In our own time prosperity, complex modernity and technological sophistication have run in tandem with, and often at odds with, great debates about effective environmental protection.  The tensions can lead to difficult decisions and competing needs.  Navigating through the chaos of so many voices we need the strong, scholarly, steady, persuading influence of bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency.  Thanks to your work we know and accept that, as a society, we all have a collective responsibility to ensure that the future development of our economy is proofed so as to contribute to the sustainability of the environment in which we live and work.’

Referring to the President’s visit, Dr Mary Kelly, EPA Director General said,

“We are honoured by President McAleese’s visit here today as a recognition of the importance of the environment in the daily lives of all Irish citizens, and her acknowledgement of the high level of environmental protection delivered by the Environmental Protection Agency in recent years.  A clean healthy environment is a national asset and must be protected and improved so that it can be handed on to future generations. 

She continued,
“The EPA constantly strives to achieve the goals we set out in our 2020 Vision  – a Vision for Ireland’s Environment.  These goals are clean air, protected water resources, limiting and adapting to climate change, protected soil and biodiversity, sustainable use of resources and integration and enforcement of environmental legislation. The EPA has also worked very hard to become a highly efficient and effective public sector organisation which is fit for purpose and can demonstrate value for money, and I would like to pay tribute to the hard work, expertise and professionalism of the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency, whose integrity and commitment to protection of Ireland’s environment is exemplary.”

Further information: Niamh Hatchell, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)

Notes to Editor

Mary Kelly has been the Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency, since May 2002.    She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin, and an MBA from Dublin City University.  She was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2008 and served on the Council of the Academy for two years.

Mary previously worked with IBEC, the Irish Business and Employers Confederation, where she was responsible for environmental policy, and before that in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Dr Kelly has recently been appointed as Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála, and will take up the post in the coming months.