The Eco Showboat Mayfly was launched from Askeaton on April 22nd
The Eco Showboat Mayfly, a solar powered riverboat aiming travel Ireland’s waterways, was launched from Askeaton on April 22nd
The Eco Showboat Mayfly, a solar-powered riverboat with a mission to travel Ireland’s waterways sparking climate action, was launched from Askeaton on April 22nd with a lineup of community events that brought people from all over the county together to discuss the environmental impacts of the Aughinish Alumina plant, a subject that has concerned the community for over thirty years.
At 3 pm a large gathering assembled at the Askeaton Community Centre to hear local artist Michele Horrigan present her research concerning the Alumina plant and the environmental concerns surrounding the plant within the community. Michele’s presentation was followed by a long and heated debate including local people and environmental activists from across the county.
The afternoon proved to be highly emotional, with local people drawing attention to the perceived high levels of cancer and alzheimer’s disease within the community. While the link to these illnesses has not been formally established, audience members pointed to the long history of illness within the community and their animals, as well as the unexplained disappearance of medical samples in the 1990s.
While evoking these events some members of the community were close to tears. Local people also expressed concern about potential damage to the biosphere resulting from substantial quantities of metals leaching into the water table and from there into the estuary. It is now clearly established that aluminium acts as a toxic agent for fish and invertebrates..
Anne Cleary, one of the founder’s of the Eco Showboat project said “This is exactly what we hoped for with the Eco showboat project, to facilitate debate and hopefully get things moving. No rigorous testing for aluminium levels in the area has been carried out, despite the concerns of people who live in Askeaton. While it is important to protect and conserve employment, the community are entitled to transparency in situations like this, where people’s health and the environment may be impacted.”
From Askeaton the Eco Showboat Mayfly continued on its journey to take part in Riverfest in Limerick City and from there will continue to the east, arriving in Dublin on September 2nd after five months on the waterways with the aim of sparking climate action countrywide.
The Eco Showboat project has received the Arts Council Open call Award for 2021, as well as an SFI Discover Award, the Limerick Arts Strategic Award, and is supported by Creative Ireland, Waterways Ireland, Dublin City Council, the Local Authority Waters Programme, local authorities and universities across the country.