Clare Public Participation Network Submission to the Citizen’s Assembly

on the Issue

‘How can the state make Ireland a leader at tackling climate change?’

11th August 2017

Clare Public Participation Network wishes to make the following submission for consideration by the Citizen’s Assembly:

Leadership: Clare PPN calls for strong leadership from all levels of government to ensure that every department’s actions, and every piece of legislation passed is climate proofed. Further to this we call on the government to ensure no further licences for fossil fuel exploration are granted in Ireland’s territory. Clare PPN calls for every measure that is introduced to be poverty proofed and for mitigating steps to be taken if and when steps designed to tackle climate change have a negative effect on people’s socio economic status.

Climate Positive Communities Fund:Clare PPN wishes to suggest that the national government should pilot a programme where it rewards communities and individuals who come up with ways to reduce Ireland’s carbon footprint, to generate clean energy or to move towards food sovereignty in their own communities or in the country as a whole.  Clare PPN suggests that a national organisation employing people with the expertise to evaluate the climate impact of each proposal should be set up and should have the dual role of working to remove any barriers that exist for effective community action and of determining level of financial reward that each project merits. Clare PPN notes that based on current targets the Irish state will be liable for significant financial penalties for failing to meet its climate targets and suggests that the funding spent on a national programme such as the one suggested above would have the potential, if successful to reduce our exposure to such fines and to increase participation by the public in tackling climate change.  This suggestion would ensure that Ireland could help become a leader in tackling climate change by harnessing the power, creativity, local knowledge and resourcefulness that are features of every townland and village in Ireland.

Community Participation:Clare PPN calls on the government to radically alter how public consultations are conducted. In line with the Aarhus Convention it calls on the government to adopt policies and commit resources to ensuring that communities are engaged in decision making, planning, ownership, and ongoing management of any clean energy projects that are proposed in their areas. This approach should be followed in regard to all natural resources with particular reference to seaweed harvesting which appears likely to experience increased interest from private companies given recent findings that it may contribute to lessening climate impact from cattle farming.  Clare PPN wishes to stress that communities should be engaged from the conception stage in any project such as wind, wave or solar energy. Further to this communities must be resourced and supported to consider themselves as energy producers rather than only consumers. This requires significant action to ensure that micro producers of energy are able to efficiently and effectively sell any excess energy produced to the grid and able to access energy from the national grid. It is imperative than any blocks to this process or to communities becoming sustainable energy communities are removed. Clare PPN would like to call for the removal of prohibitions on Virtual Private Networks as these restrictions prevent collaborative approaches to sustainable energy generation for small groups or clusters where this may otherwise be an option.

Infrastructure: Clare PPN is based in a rural, agricultural county, parts of which are dependent on tourism for its sustainability. Clare PPN calls for more supports for environmentally sound tourism practices, for significant investment in environmentally sustainable public transport within the county and for support for innovative, sustainable land use including forestry. Clare PPN notes the existence of successful Community Supported Agriculture projects in Clare and wishes to commend and recommend these as models which could be developed and which are worthy of support. Clare PPN also notes the existence of wetland regeneration projects in County Clare and calls for these to be supported. Clare PPN also recognises the very successful Clare Bus company and call for additional support for them in their moves to become more sustainable, particularly in the area of EV based public transport. Clare PPN calls for a national and local programme of financial and administrative support for individuals and businesses to become self-sufficient in energy needs.

Any enquiries in relation to this submission may be directed to

Christy Sinclair,

Clare PPN Environmental College Representative

Phone: 087- 2244569

Email: sarah@clareppn.ie

Website: www.clareppn.ie

Twitter: @clare_ppn

Facebook: www.facebook.com/clareppn/

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