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The four-yearly report noted that although the quality of the Irish environment remained high, there were large growth areas.

Economic growth and population increase are just two of the problems mentioned, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report said.

Dr Mary Kelly, director general of the EPA said: “Despite this, Ireland’s environment is of a relatively high quality overall, although there is no room for complacency.”

It noted that the country would have difficulty meeting its Kyoto agreement targets, with the pollution of water and the “unsatisfactory conservation of natural habitat and species” being chief among the problems.

Nearly a third of Ireland’s 13,000km or river channels were considered to be of an unsatisfactory quality.

Additionally, 62% of groundwater bodies were considered at risk of going below their status of good.

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