Catchment News

St. Joseph’s Foroige, Streamstown – award-winning work to reduce pesticide use

St. Joseph’s Foroige, Streamstown Co Westmeath recently won a gold medal for their project on weed killer at the Aldi Foroige Youth Citizenship Awards held in City West Dublin.

The Foroige group have been busy for the past year researching and coming up with an alternative to chemical weedkiller with a view to protecting our natural waters from harmful chemicals.

Their work included carrying out a survey in the community to establish the use of chemical weedkillers, and to determine if the community were willing to trial alternative, eco-friendly sprays if they were available.

The Streamstown Tidy Village approached the group as they were keen to try and get away from relying on chemical sprays and it was a perfect project for our group to get working on. The club members have worked hard and were delighted to get assistance from both the Council’s Environmental Awareness Officer, Ruth Maxwell and Basil Mannion, the Communities Water Officer from the Waters and Communities Office – they advised on how the chemical sprays affect both our water and pollinators and help research alternatives – Helena Connell, Foroige Leader

Local Community Water Officer Basil Mannion emphasised that the project is especially relevant, because the Streamstown area and wider catchment are located within the headwaters of the River Gageborough, which has been selected as an Area for Action in the River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021.

Photo details:

Back row L- R: Roising Killian, Emer Killian , Aine Maxwell, Laura Conlon, Joyce Conway

Front row: L – R: Adam Kelly, Sinead Robbins, Ciara Maxwell.

Missing from photo : Eoin McCormack

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.