Ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the 2008 Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Directive (Directive 2008/50/EC) and the Fourth Daughter Directive (Directive 2004/107/EC of 15 December 2004). These Directives include rules on how Member States should monitor, assess and manage ambient air quality. Under the Directives, EU Member States must designate “zones” for the purpose of managing air quality. For Ireland, four zones were defined in the Air Quality Standards Regulations, 2011. The zones in place in Ireland are Zone A: the Dublin conurbation; Zone B: the Cork conurbation; Zone C: comprising 23 large towns in Ireland with a population of more than 15,000; and Zone D: the remaining area of Ireland. The numbers and locations of the monitoring equipment for each pollutant are determined by the requirements of the Directives for ambient air monitoring in each zone, along with the ongoing expansion of the network under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme 2017-2022. There are currently 47 monitoring stations in the network from which data is reported to the Commission under the Directives, of which 17 are in Dublin. In addition, a further 25 monitoring stations are planned under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme, including one on Amiens Street in the north inner city.
This monitoring network is augmented by a number of other monitoring stations operated by Local Authorities, which do not meet the criteria set out in the Directives, but which provide additional useful information on local air quality conditions.
It is open to Local Authorities to also install additional air quality monitoring stations, should they wish to do so.
With regard to the presentation of data to the general public, real-time information from air quality monitoring stations is available online at www.epa.ie/air/quality/. Data is presented in a colour-coded system using a scale of 1 (good) to 10 (very poor) to indicate the current level of air quality at each location and is now displayed as part of a station based Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH). Clicking on any individual location provides detailed figures of the latest available measurements for a number of pollutants at that location. In addition, people may sign up to the EPA's air quality twitter feed (@EPAAirQuality), in which case they will receive twice daily updates on air quality, with hourly updates if the air quality deteriorates to poor or very poor status.