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SPOTLIGHT ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Greetings from Dublin where the EHOA are busy organising the 9th World Congress in Environmental Health which is due to be staged here in June this year. This is the biggest event our organisation has ever undertaken and there is now great anticipation and excitement building amongst our own members at the promised line up of speakers, presentations, technical visits and social programme. We are looking forward to an eclectic mix of topics, experiences and accents, at what is shaping up to be a very memorable occasion for all.

As one of the three founding members of the IFEH, the EHOA is privileged to be hosting the Congress on this the 21st Anniversary of the Federationís foundation and we also look forward with pride to the inauguration of Colm Smyth as the first Irish President of the IFEH.

EHOA
As a professional representative body I am happy to report that EHOA is going from strength to strength. Now in our 52nd year we have the highest ever recorded membership of over 515 registered members and these members can be found in the Health Services Executive, Local Authorities, Department of Health and Children, the Food Safety Authority, the Office of Tobacco Control, the Health and Safety Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, Dublin Institute of Technology, NGOs and in many fields of private industry.


The majority of our members are holders of postgraduate qualifications; in some cases multiple postgraduate qualifications and the demographics of the Association are one of a very young population so the future looks bright.


We have members from NI, England and Wales and this year the decision was taken to transfer the non-voting rights of a member to any oversees colleague visiting on a job-swap. Mutual recognition of qualifications with our colleagues throughout the UK is also greatly facilitating movement for those interested in working in other areas.


Operated through a system of honorary officers, branches and committees the EHOA holds a number of annual events each year, we produce an annual yearbook and in conjunction with our colleagues in Northern Ireland we hold an annual conference. We also support charities through bursaries and individual/branch events and we sponsor a research competition each year in conjunction with our colleagues in Dublin Institute of Technology.

The EHOA has an office and employs two fulltime Administrative staff who support the Officer Board in all facets of the operation but in particular in the administration of our food safety training courses and publications
 

New Challenges
Ireland as a country has enjoyed a great level of prosperity over the last decade, a boom that has become known as the Celtic Tiger. This has brought with it an increase in population resulting in it now being over 4 million for the first time since the potato famine of 1847. Many of the new Irish are migrants from all over the world and a recent study showed that there are at present 167 different languages spoken here.

As with any change there are opportunities and challenges, and for those of us involved in environmental health enforcement some obvious challenges are cultural and linguistic while more fundamentally prosperity brings with it greater threats to the environment in the form of increased traffic, energy demands, mobile phone usage, noise pollution and waste management. Similarly changing lifestyles focus attention on emerging health issues such as smoking, obesity and skin cancers.

Never before has environmental health as a profession in Ireland had to demonstrate its ability to adapt and to lead as we do now. Against this backdrop of social and economic change the profession is also faced with ongoing legislative reviews in many of our traditional areas of statutory responsibility and due to a complete reform of our Health Service even the very structures through which much of our work is being done are now being examined. But change brings with it energy, movement and opportunities so it is timely now that we are bringing the World Congress to Dublin in a year when Environmental Health in Ireland is moving into a new era and when we have so much to exchange with our international colleagues.

We hope to see many of you in Ireland this summer and we look forward to not only sharing experience and expertise but also a wee taste of traditional Irish hospitality. Just log onto the link from this website to get all the up to date information on the Congress but be quick because the early booking date is April 15th and the places are filling fast.

See you there, 

Regards
Ann Marie Part

 



IFEH World Congress 2006

In June 2006, the
Environmental Health Officers' Association Ireland hosted the 9th IFEH World Congress on Environmental Health.