News Release

21 December 2011


Airborne Survey Grounds for Christmas Period

-Animal owners advised of temporary break in flying schedule


The European Union INTERREG IVA funded Tellus Border Airborne Survey currently underway across Ireland’s six border counties - Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth - will break for the Christmas period with no flights taking place between 22nd December 2011 – 4th January 2012 inclusive. Flights are planned to resume on Thursday 5th January. The small aircraft, equipped with the very latest geophysical technology, has been regularly flying across the survey area since October 2011 collecting scientific data on soils, water and rocks as part of a highly significant EU-funded environmental mapping project of the region.

Ray Scanlon, Senior Geologist at the Geological Survey of Ireland said, “To date we have made significant progress, with the airborne survey collecting key data in the Cavan, Monaghan and Louth area. However during the Christmas period we will break temporarily from the flying schedule and we are keen to ensure animal owners and the general public are fully aware of this development.”

“We have been operating an extensive awareness-raising campaign, involving community groups, farming and equine organisations as well as other relevant parties throughout the survey area and will continue to do so in 2012 when the airborne survey recommences. We extend our thanks to everyone who has been involved in this communications programme, including the IFA, the Irish Aviation Authority and the many clubs and organisations who have helped up spread the word. Anyone requiring further detail about the project can contact the Tellus Border information line on freephone 1800 303 516 or email”

The second part to the EU INTERREG IVA Programme funded project, the ground-based geochemical survey which began in Co Donegal in August, is also making excellent progress according to the team. Kate Knights, Project Geochemist at the Geological Survey of Ireland said “We are delighted to say that over 3,400 soil samples have now been collected across the six counties – a huge testament to the hard work and efficiency of the ground survey team. We’ll be returning in early Spring 2012 to take remaining soil samples in Counties Sligo and Donegal, and to progress the stream water and sediment sampling element of the programme.”

“We’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all landowners who have been so co-operative, granting us access to their land for the purposes of this project over the last four months. The public support and general interest in the project has been fantastic and has really helped with our swift progress.”


For further information please contact Kelly McKee, Seona McGrath or Claire Bonner at Morrow Communications on 02890 393837 or see the project website is .

Notes for Editors

·         The cross-border Tellus Border project has been funded by the INTERREG IVA development programme of the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). This is the largest of the latest awards under the Environment theme of INTERREG IVA and is part funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment.

·         The project is a joint initiative between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), the Dundalk Institute of Technology and Queen’s University Belfast and builds on the award-winning Tellus Project which has already successfully mapped Northern Ireland. Data collected during both surveys will be integrated with the existing data to give a cross border geological baseline.

·         ‘Tellus’ was the Roman goddess of the earth, also called Terra Mater.

·         The aircraft being used in the survey is a white, twin propeller plane with a distinctive red tail and blue stripe, and it carries the registration number of C-GSGF.

·         The plane, when operational, will fly during daylight hours, seven days a week.


• The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IV designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

• The INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme is worth €256 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders. It supports strategic cross-border co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable region.

• For more information on the SEUPB please visit