Notice of elections for Environmental Pillar representative roles

Notice of elections for Environmental Pillar representative roles

Clare PPN would like to give notice of election for the following positions:

Environmental representative on the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC)

The Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is comprised of council officials, elected councillors, and various business and community representatives. Among other things LCDC has the job of developing and overseeing the community elements of Clare County Council’s 6 year-long Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP).

This is an important committee for Clare PPN and its members and we have 5 seats on it. This committee meets 5- 6 times per year and the successful nominee will also be required to participate on occasion in other networking, consultation and policy making events with member groups and the Clare PPN secretariat.

The ideal candidate will be a person who is well connected with environmental groups in the area and someone who has a genuine interest in increasing participation and policy development by local groups in Local Government Structures

Environmental Pillar Secretariat member of Clare PPN (and optional trustee of Clare PPN CLG)

Clare PPN is managed by a board known as the Secretariat. This secretariat is responsible for running the Public Participation Network in Clare between plenary meetings.

Clare PPN has three part time staff and an annual budget of €110,700 per year which is provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Clare County Council. The secretariat which is a flat structure meets eight to ten times per year with those meetings usually taking place in Ennis, County Clare (currently online due to Covid-19 restrictions). The successful candidate will also be required to attend events and meetings organised by the PPN itself for the purposes of consulting with our member groups.  Secretariat members will be asked to become trustees of Clare PPN CLG although this is not a mandatory requirement.

The ideal candidate will be a person who is well connected with environmental groups in the area and someone who has a genuine interest in increasing participation and policy development by local groups in Local Government Structures

Election Rules and Process:

  • Only groups who were members of Clare PPN on Wednesday, 20th July 2022 are eligible to participate in this election.
  • Only groups who are members of the Environmental Pillar can participate in this election.
  • No person can represent Clare PPN on more than one external committee or body,
  • Each member group may nominate one candidate and may cast one vote. (It is each group’s named contact person’s responsibility to consult with their own members regarding this).

How to nominate a candidate:

Groups wishing to nominate a candidate must seek their consent first and then must send an email to admin@clareppn.ie with the following information on or before Friday, 29th July at 5pm:

  • Name of PPN member group.
  • Position for which they are nominating a candidate.
  • Name of proposed nominee.
  • Contact details of proposed nominee.
  • A short paragraph (up to 200 words) detailing the nominees’ suitability and experience for the role- this will be shared on social media and on our website in advance of voting.
  • A photo of your nominee which we may share with our members and social media followers.

Clare PPN will confirm receipt of nominations by email. Following the close of nominations Clare PPN will circulate details of candidates to our members on Monday, 1st August and online voting will be open until Monday, 8th August at 1pm.  No votes will be accepted after this time.  The name of the successful candidate will then be announced.

If you need any more information or wish to discuss the role further please email admin@clareppn.ie or call 087 1617375

NB: Even if you have nominated a candidate, you will still need to cast your vote to support their election.

Minutes of Clare PPN Plenary (Part 1), 13th August 2022 

Minutes of Clare PPN Plenary (Part 1), 13th August 2022

This Clare PPN Plenary is taking place in two phases, one in person, the second online. Below are the minutes of phase one. 

Wednesday, 13th August, 2022
Cloughleigh Community Centre, Ennis

Attendance: 16

Facilitator: Padraig Hayes

Work Report
Sarah Clancy summarised Clare PPN’s diverse and extensive work in recent months. Praise all round for the quality and quantity of work being done by volunteers and staff. Details in the Clare PPN Work report for April to June 2022. 

Anti-Poverty Strategy: Sarah briefed on preliminary findings of Conor McCabe’s research and on plans for launch of report. There was a good discussion about this and about how to proceed/use the strategy. 

Finance Report
Details are available at the end of Clare PPN Work report for April to June 2022.

Vacancies: Clare PPN Reps & Secretariat
Two vacancies on then Clare PPN Secretariat, one from Shannon area, one from Environmental College. 

Two vacancies for Reps, both on the LCDC (Local Community Development Committee) of Clare County Council: one each from the Social Inclusion and Environmental Colleges.  

Details of election to be announced via email and our website & social media in coming days. 

Forthcoming changes to structure of Joint Policing Committee
Madeline McAleer, who is Clare PPN’s Rep on Clare’s Joint Policing Committee, updated on these important changes. This is an opportunity to seek to ensure a more community oriented representation. 

National Review of PPNs
This review was conducted by Mazars consultants. There are three proposals in the review. PPN workers nationally have discussed the review and don’t see anything in them that will fix issues with PPNs. We think they need to be more proactive; the review approaches PPNs as a problem not as potential. 

People can make submissions in relation to the review by 31st August. Clare PPN hopes to hold a meeting for our members in advance of our submission. Social Justice Ireland also plans to hold consultations. You can read the review here:
https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/f6fe9-ppn-structural-review-report/

Community Group training needs for autumn
If your group needs training, let us know by emailing admin@clareppn.ie
For example writing funding applications. 

Priorities for next quarter
Environmental: Extractive industries, Fuel poverty, data centres, climate action & adaptation.
Social Inclusion college has many things going on. 

AOB
Plan is to hold every second Plenary meeting in person. 

ENDS

Notes from Climate Conversations Workshop – 23rd June 2022

Notes from Climate Conversations Workshop – 23rd June 2022

Notes from the Climate Conversations Workshop 7pm 23rd June 2022

In attendance: Fran Gianquinto, Oonagh O’Dwyer, Bridget Ginnity, Martin Vernon, Theresa O’Donoghue, Mary Coffey, Elaine Bradley

Intro by Robert Mooney (Department Climate, Environment and Communications)

Met 4,000 in 2021 as part of National Dialogue on Climate Action (NDCA). ‘Climate Conversations 2022’ – engage, enable, empower. Online consultation to be launched within days. The core policy areas this year include:

  • Climate Literacy: Understanding how aware public groups are of what needs to be done/ what can be done and how to do it to achieve carbon neutrality
  • Just transition: Understanding where government and local authorities need to be providing support to ensure that the transition to climate neutrality is fair equitable and inclusive
  • Transport and Travel: How do people in your area get around? What are people doing to reduce their climate impact from travel? If so, what motivates you. What are the main barriers from travelling more sustainably?
  • Energy: What people are doing at home with regards to retrofitting and upgrading existing houses to improve energy efficiency. What is the public sentiment towards Offshore Generation?
  • Food, waste, and retail: Supporting Ireland to move towards a more circular economy, by making products that last longer and can be repurposed. Initiatives in your area – what you’d like to see, what works well, what you’d be willing to do to reuse and recycle more

 

CLIMATE LITERACY

  • There must be education for government and local authorities. Local authority climate literacy very poor. Submissions to Clare Co. Co. rejected regardless of who sends them in (PPN, An Taisce, IFA). Nothing taken on, nobody listening to experts in the county.  Properly staff the LA (environmental scientist etc.) like LAWPRO. Must be genuinely open to input from citizens.
  • There must be coherence/climate proofing across all government Departments eg. Agricultural policy conflicting with carbon reduction targets.
  • The urgency of action seems not to be understood. It is a crisis that need action right now, not more policies. Climate Action Plan is here, needs to be acted on. Climate change is an existential threat. The opportunity for consultation is welcome but there is a concern that in developing the “perfect” solutions we delay implementing any solutions while the problem gets worse every day. There must be some hope and a way to keep it positive while promoting urgency (we can’t give the impression that all is lost or that is it too late)
  • Communication strategy is needed (national awareness, cross media campaign). Message needs to be constant and repetitive. COVID style response/’war effort’ required. Climate information is currently coming from newspapers (The Guardian’, magazines, books and podcasts.
  • CSO has moved to regional basis rather than countywide basis so it is very difficult to access statistics on County Clare.
  • What happens to illegal polluters? How can laws be implemented. Environmental protections are very poor.
  • Individuals cannot be held responsible for climate change when it is a systemic problem. Even so we need more education on strategies that people can implement such as biodigesters and composting. This should be part of the school curriculum.  Also we must keep having conversations, putting the pressure on local representatives and national government, sending in submissions and applying for funding to aid activism.
  • There is a knowledge barrier on how initiate home energy upgrades.
  • Every politician and decision maker must be up to date and informed and must be bringing this up at every opportunity.

 

JUST TRANSITION

  • We have an international obligation: droughts, floods, snowstorms, hurricanes in other countries. There will be large parts of the world that will become uninhabitable which will lead to mass migration to more temperate climates.  We need to be prepared for that and put in the infrastructure now.
  • Local Authorities will only act under direct instruction from a circular. Currently devising a contradictory County Development Plan. All planning must have the social and environmental impact measured (eg. The proposed Ennis Data Centre has huge environmental and carbon emissions impacts). Cost all climate actions in carbon emissions (eg. replacement of streetlamp bulbs). Whose responsibility is it to retrofit HAP houses?
  • Clare PPN is working on a 5 Year Participative Anti-Poverty Strategy which has already uncovered statistics on Clare such as the county having the highest dependency on fossil fuels in Ireland. Some counties will need more help than others to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Retro-fitting must be 100% funded in Clare. Apprenticeships for retrofitting should be hosted by the LA. Agriculture assumed to a part of all rural living whereas a majority live in town and villages. Coordinate measures in housing estates to upgrade all houses at once. This reduces costs and delays and supports shared infrastructure such as heat pumps/PV panels
  • Good actions need to be incentivised Opportunity to sell personal carbon credits? If over 45 investing in retrofitting will not be repaid in lifetime (but the ‘return on investment’ is a safer planet)
  • There must be muti annual funding for environmental groups so that they can focus on work rather than funding applications
  • Proper biodiversity management will ensure that local people are kept on board. Rewetting bogs and creating wildlife areas are an opportunity to create accessible amenities for the community (walkways etc.) in addition to creating badly needed carbon sinks.

 

TRANSPOST & TRAVEL

  • Currently living in Clare is very difficult without a car: access to work, healthcare, shops, social life. Why did it take a war in Ukraine to finally get a bus in West Clare?
  • Active travel is difficult because the roads are not safe to cycle on. Genuine active travel measures must be implemented eg: speed limit reduction/priority for pedestrians (especially at roundabouts), continuous footpath/cycle path/permeability in housing areas/park and stride. Support safe use of scooters
  • Identify back routes between towns and villages and lower speed limit to encourage active travel
  • Very poor public transport infrastructure in Clare. Huge investment in rural public transport needed to provide frequent and dependable public transport. Currently public transport is focused on getting to and from Dublin. East Clare Accessible Transport was ‘regionalised’.  It’s replacement, Local Link should meet everyone’s needs.
  • School transport should be free.
  • Working from home has moved people back to rural areas and reduced the carbon emissions of commuting.
  • Tax on flights (some disagreement on this because some flights are unavoidable)
  • There must be creative ideas around rural transport: shared vehicles, community busses etc.

 

ENERGY

  • Ennis Data Centre will undermine all individual efforts that people in Clare will make. No policy coherence – we will not be able to reach climate reduction targets as long as we are building a huge LNG fossil fuel power station for data storage. The current plans for a data centre are not in compliance with the Clare Renewable Energy Strategy. It must not be allowed to go ahead.
  • Offshore energy projects taking too long to get planning. We need renewables not only to reduce our carbon emissions but also to reduce dependency on oil and gas producing countries.  We will not have this done by 2030. In addition, we must have at least 30% of our waters designates as Marine Protected Areas and any offshore planning must adhere.
  • The government is missing renewable energy targets and therefore will miss the 2030 emissions target
  • Electric cars need mining for lithium batteries (not environmentally friendly or ethical). Moving mining to countries where there is potentially more regulation and no child labour will not stop mining in the countries with poor regulation and child labour.
  • Solar panels needed on every home (under centralised control with a scheme)
  • Supply could be reduced by 5%. Energy rationing.  This might happen anyway through blackouts if the data centre goes ahead.
  • The Climate Action Plan must be implemented now.
  • Give planning permission to onshore wind farm applications, with due regard for impact on houses in immediate neighbourhood. Provide direct benefits to those adversely impacted (e.g. free electricity).

 

CIRCULAR ECONOMY

  • Food education (reduce waste, cooking from scratch, how to grow your own, how to compost food waste)
  • Food security depends on regenerative farming with exemplars already throughout the county. Current threats to food security in Ireland are phenological mismatch and an over dependency on cheap imports (international conflict creating scarcity and volatile prices).
  • Some economies depend on the production of military equipment but the military war machine not only destroys human lives, it is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions and destroys entire ecological systems.
  • Town centre living (lots of vacancies hollowing out town centre), active travel, revitalised business
  • What will the ultimate cost be when climate change hits? Houses in Lahinch already struggling to get insurance. Acting to minimise now is better and cheaper than reacting afterwards.
  • Mining for lithium is damaging. Precious metals and minerals need to be captured at recycling stage
  • Planned obsolescence must be stopped. (devices that cannot be opened to be fixed, ‘upgrades’ that render older devices useless, electronics and white goods more expensive to fix than replace).
  • Stop use of pesticide/herbicide, also in Burren
  • Reduce overfishing to allow stock to regenerate. Promote sustainable fishing practices.
  • Support farmers to rewet bogs and stop the removal of scrub and hedgegrows.

 

We need a ‘Climate, Biodiversity and Food Security Plan’

Climate Conversations – Thursday 23rd June – 7pm – Online

Climate Conversations – Thursday 23rd June – 7pm – Online

Climate Conversations – Thursday 23rd June – 7pm – Online

Last year members of Clare PPN took part in facilitated conversations that helped to inform the Department of Environment Climate and Communications in developing the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021. We have again been asked to host a workshop online where we seek your input, opinions and expertise on Climate Action and this workshop will take place next Thursday 23rd June at 7.00 pm online. The feedback and data generated through this engagement will be used by the Department to feed into the next Climate Action Plan 2022 and other sectoral policies. The workshop will be a facilitated discussion and will last between 60 and 90 minutes.

We can accommodate a maximum of twenty participants in this workshop and so if you are interested in attending and have ideas, opinions. expertise or advice for the Department on its climate strategy you are warmly invited to attend. All places should be booked in advance as soon as possible by emailing sarah@clareppn.ie and we will then send you the link for the meeting. As always, we would really appreciate you taking the time and effort to attend.

Background information:

The Climate Action Plan 2021 can be found here https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/2f87c-climate-action-plan-2021/ and while there is a significant amount of information to be found in the plan, information on core policy priorities can be found in the Executive Summary on pages 10 – 13.