Galway Co PPN calls for a restriction on the sale of Wet Wipes in an open letter to Minister Ryan.

Aengus McMahon Photography


  • Sewage treatments systems are unable to breakdown wet wipes containing plastic.
  • Research reveals that wet wipes are washing up on the shores of Galway bay in alarming quantities.
  • Galway group urge Minister to ban wet wipes along with other single use plastics in 2021 legislation.


Galway County Public Participation Network representative and member of Plastic Free Kinvara, Mairsíl Claffey, has today issued an open letter to Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan, TD on behalf of the Green Recovery Working Group of the Galway County PPN.


In the letter, representative Claffey highlights the prevalence of single use plastics, and the burden it presents to our waste management processes and environment, which conflicts with relevant obligations to combat environmental pollution. Quoting research conducted by Dr Liam Morrison and his team at the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, Claffey notes that particularly the use of wet wipes exacerbates this situation with alarming quantities of wipes washing up on the shores of Galway bay.


The letter also refers to the provisions in European legislation to reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment which Ireland must implement. Currently, wet wipes are not included in the list of products mentioned in this Directive. The letter, therefore, suggests that plastic-containing wet wipes be treated in the same way as those single use plastic products, covered in the legislation, with their sale restricted.


By issuing this letter, the Green Recovery Working Group, backed by the Galway County PPN, hope to raise awareness of the need to take urgent action to curtail the harmful impact of non-biodegradable wet wipes, as well as action against the erroneous labeling of wipes as ‘flushable’.


The full letter along with Dr. Morrison’s published research paper can be found here.

Letter to Minister Ryan

Research Paper in Water Research



Contact for further information:

Mairsíl Claffey (Galway County PPN representative): [email protected]


Louise Vance (Plastic Free Kinvara): [email protected]



Charlotte May (PPN Coordinator): [email protected]

Economic, Rural & Community Development Unit | Galway County Council |Áras an Chontae |Prospect Hill | Galway | H91 H6KX

Tel: 091 509130 | Mobile: 085 27 32 6 32 | Email: [email protected] |

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Notes for Editors:

Plastic Free Kinvara was formed in 2018, in response to plastic waste washing up on area beaches, by singer/songwriter Helen Lane.  Comprising concerned locals, activists, and artists, this is the latest in a long line of actions Plastic Free Kinvara have initiated, galvanizing Galway communities to action.

The Galway County Public Participation Network is a Network of over 950 community groups in County Galway. The Public Participation Network has been established to enable people and community groups in County Galway to have a say on issues that concern them. These Public Participation Networks (PPNs) are new structures for public engagement and participation in Local Government in each Local Authority area.

The PPN structure is the principle mechanism through which the Local Authority links/engages with the broader community sector and comprises the representative voice of the community and voluntary, social inclusion and environmental sectors. Find out more here.


The Ryan Institute is the National University of Ireland, Galway‘s multi-disciplinary research institute for advancing sustainability and innovation impacts across its four thematic research areas, namely (1) Marine & Coastal, (2) Energy & Climate Change, (3) Agriculture & BioEconomy, and (4) Environment & Health.

The Ryan Institute is comprised of 12 Research Centres/Clusters spanning these four thematic research areas. At present, the Ryan Institute is NUI Galway’s largest research institute comprised of 91 Research Groups and 12 Research Centres/Clusters that are responsible for over 500 funded research projects comprising circa. 20% of the overall research income of NUI Galway. The 91 Research Groups (each lead by a Ryan Institute Principal Investigator) within the Ryan Institute collectively consist of at least 470 full time researchers, including 90 Postdoctoral Fellows, 50 Research Assistants, and over 240 PhD students. Find out more here.


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