Government inaction on genomics and forestry on precious peat: Latest news from Noteworthy

Two major investigations were published over the past month thanks to your continued support.

By Maria Delaney

SPRUCE FORESTRY AND genomics were the main topics of conversation at our community-led investigative platform, Noteworthy, over the past month, with two major investigations published.  

The team are also working on several investigations including Academic UncertaintyCost of CarbonShear Force and Net Loss.

Recently launched 

It has been a tough few months for everyone, but there is one group of people who have been impacted significantly by Covid restrictions – high risk groups.

One proposed project, Captives of Covid, that we recently launched for crowdfunding will investigate the impact of cocooning in Ireland.

As part of this, we want to investigate the physical, mental, financial and other effects of being both isolated within the walls of your house for almost six weeks earlier this year as well as the longer-term separation from society. 

We launched a number of other proposed investigations recently: 

LAST PLACE: Why doesn’t every child in Ireland have a place in secondary school? We want to investigate the rollout of the School Building Programme.

IN LIMBO: Why are people left in hospitals and nursing homes instead of rehab? We want to look into the lack of specialist rehabilitation services.

TROUBLED WATERS: Are salmon fish farms harming our marine ecosystem? We want to find out the potential impacts of industrial scale fish farming.

Selling Our Genes

Earlier this month, we published a major collaboration between Noteworthy and the Business Post into the commercialisation of genomics in Ireland. 

Our reporter Maria Delaney, who has a background in genetics, worked with Business Post reporters Killian Woods and Barry Whyte who have written extensively about this over the past few years. 

Noteworthy published an extensive article which delved into failures of Government in regulating commercial control of genomic data. We also published two smaller side articles – one on a ‘restrictive’ UCD collaboration agreement and another exploring the option of a public genome project

At the same time, the Business Post published a large feature which focused on the Government’s relationship with Genuity Science Ireland as well as lobbying activity.

Our investigation found Genuity Science links with 13 hospitals, six universities, six research facilities, one health research network and two charities. Our searchable table lists each facility, projects they are involved in, funding received and other details.

This collaboration allowed us to explore the issue more deeply due to the additional resources provided by the Business Post, and also gave the outcome of the investigation a wider readership.

If this project was of interest to you, check out some of the other health-related proposals that we are currently crowdfunding to complete. 

Spruced Up

Over the course of the past few months, our reporter Niall Sargent examined the potential environmental impacts of our conifer-led forestry policy. He spoke to numerous biodiversity and nature experts and combed through hundreds of pages of research and scientific papers.

The result of this investigation was published last weekend: 

In addition to this main body of work, we put together an online table where people can search for afforestation license applications in their area as there is currently no single place online where you can view all forestry license information. This table is based on the afforestation data that we collated through Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) requests.

Please support this additional work through our general fund, which also has the option of a monthly subscription.

Recent articles 

Last month, we published two opinion pieces related to our Silent Treatment proposed investigation on services for people with eating disorders. Before the budget, Fiona Coyle of the Mental Health Reform called on the Government to stop diverting funding allocated for eating disorders to other areas

In our second op-ed on this issue, Joyce Russell wrote about how eating disorders are ruthless but specialised regional care is hard to find.

Lack of inpatient beds and specialist teams is the reason that my daughter had to travel to England three times… On two of these occasions she was so close to death that she would have died without the care of the inpatient units there.

In addition, DCU’s professor Gary Murphy explained how the cooling-off period for politicians turned lobbyists is ‘limited and contentious’

This was following the controversy over the resignation of Michael D’Arcy from the Seanad to take up a position as head of the financial services group, the Irish Association of Investment Managers. Related to this, if funded, our Revolving Door proposed project will find out what influence former politicians have in Leinster House.

Noteworthy numbers

119 - Articles published, funded through proposals or our general fund.

63 - Open proposals compiled from ideas sent to us by the public.

6 - Proposals on their way to being funded soon:

  • 92% - Dead End - Galway’s planned ring road & traffic congestion
  • 58% - Lift Out - Accessibility of public transport
  • 37% - Endangered Species - Government actions on biodiversity
  • 33% - Blind Justice - Irish minority groups and the prison system
  • 32% – Fuelling Retirement – Contribution of pensions to the climate crisis
  • 30% - Cash Cow - Role of subsidies in unsustainable farming practices

We can’t start investigating these issues until they are fully funded so please share with friends and on social media to help support these projects.

What do you think should be investigated? Noteworthy is a community-driven platform & works by investigating issues that you feel need more attention. What are they? Let us know here.

How to help 

You can also help Noteworthy in a few other ways:

To find out how contributions are used, or anything else about how Noteworthy works, click here. You can also sign up to our Insider Newsletter or find us on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email [email protected]

Thanks so much for your continued support!

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