Clare groups express concerns about last-minute amendments to Ireland’s Climate Bill
July 13th 2021
Last night, July 12th 2021 concerned members of Clare PPN’s Environmental College, Clare Environmental Network and One Future Clare called a meeting to discuss their fears about the last minute amending of the Climate Bill by the Government. The Climate Bill is scheduled to go through its final stage in the Dail tomorrow Wednesday 14th July. The concerning amendments (pictured below), numbered 23 and 26 were proposed in the Seanad on July 9th. Our members are worried that these amendments appear to have the capacity to undermine the strength and clarity of the Climate Bill. They are concerned that it may leave politicians open to sectoral lobbying as well as weakening the independence of the Climate Change Advisory Committee.
Even if such concerns prove unfounded introducing these amendments at the last minute did not allow time for proper scrutiny or analysis. Our members do not want this extremely important bill passed without sufficient consideration being given to ensure it is robust enough to underpin some of the most important and far reaching decisions we will have to make as a country in the coming decades. They are today contacting their elected representatives to ask that the bill be deferred and the amendments given due consideration.
Spokesperson for the concerned group Dr Tracy Watson said. ‘This bill needs to set us up for sustainable futures and give as much clarity as possible to all stakeholders. These amendments appear to weaken the bill in such a way that issues such as carbon budgets are contested and must be negotiated piecemeal. They appear also to suggest that the expert Climate Change Advisory Committee is expected to make its recommendations in response to those negotiations rather than in response to Climate Science. If the Government is confident that these amendments do not weaken the Climate Bill, then it should take the time to debate and explain their reasoning’
Clare PPN environmental members have engaged with every public consultation opportunity on this vitally important Climate Bill. They have held focus groups, done surveys, made individual and group submissions, made submissions to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action and organised a mass lobbying event with Clare Political Representatives in an effort to ensure that a watertight Climate Bill that sets Ireland on a course of transformation for a sustainable, liveable future is passed. They are calling for the Climate Bill to be deferred until such a time as proper consideration of the Government Amendments has been carried out.
For more information or comment please contact:
Sarah Clancy 0871617375
Notes for Editors:
Clare PPN (CPPN) is a network of 318 community, voluntary, environmental and social inclusion groups from Clare. It exists to facilitate the formal participation by the community sector in Clare County Council’s policy making structures and to support communication and information sharing in the community and voluntary sector in Clare. It is funded jointly by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Clare County Council but is autonomous and its activities are directed by its members through an elected secretariat. Clare PPN’s website is www.clareppn.ie and we are on Twitter @clare_ppn and facebook.com/clareppn/
June 25th 2021
Funding to establish Traveller Community Development Project Secured for Clare:
Clare PPN is delighted to announce that a collaborative application to the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Pilot Project Community Development Fund has been successful. This application was made on behalf of four organisations in Clare; Clare Local Development Company, Clare Women’s Network, Clare Public Participation Network and the HSE’s Mid-West Traveller Health Unit and endorsed by many other community and voluntary organisations around the county. Clare PPN’s involvement in this project stems from concerns raised by their Social Inclusion Member Groups who have sought ways to lend their collective weight to working effectively to improve the living conditions and wellbeing of the approximately 900 Travellers who are part of the community in Clare.
More than 120 projects around the country applied for this funding and the Clare collaborative group are pleased to have been one of seven successful applications to the One million euro fund. Doirin Graham, CEO of Clare Local Development Company welcomed the news saying that this much needed funding would secure a Traveller specific initiative. ‘We want to ensure that Travellers are involved at every level of this project and are front and centre in the decision making roles. With our organisations’ support we can lend the institutional and governance guidance to help to get the project up and running and to support it until it is on a solid footing’.
The application itself highlighted the urgent need for a Traveller-specific organisation in Clare where effective methods of participation for the Traveller community in the decisions that affect their lives have not been established. One of the issues for the Traveller community in Clare is accessing funding available for training, mentorships, social enterprises, educational and political advocacy. Without a dedicated organisation there is no entity working with the community to support them to identify these needs and to apply for funding to respond to them. It is this gap in targeted supports that prompted the four collaborating organisations to apply for this fund. It is their explicit aim that over the proposed three years of the scheme the Traveller Community Development Organisation will become fully independent and Traveller –led and develop a strong grassroots voice to address social exclusion, poverty, and to advocate for Traveller’s Human Rights.
On hearing the news, Sarah Clancy of Clare PPN, noted that ‘in recent years Ireland has seen members of the Traveller community against all odds making huge strides in fields of education, literature, sports, music, politics, law and the arts even while the community as a whole experiences structural and direct discrimination with extremely damaging effects within Irish society’. She hopes that this fund will be one building block in the path towards equality for the Traveller community in Clare and that it will be able to build on previous work done by Ennis Community Development Project, the Traveller community themselves and other such organisations in Clare”
It is hoped that full details of the funding stream and timeline for commencement of this work will be agreed with the Department of Rural and Community Development over the coming weeks and CLDC and their collaborating partners invite anyone who would like more information about this project to contact Darina Greene on 0879086561 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Clare PPN is very grateful for support, advice, friendship and assistance provided by those involved with the Irish Traveller Movement, Pavee Point, Tipperary Rural Traveller Project, CENA, the Traveller Mediation Service and the St Stephen’s Green Trust.
Clare Local Development Company through its SICAP program aims to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality in Clare through supporting communities and individuals using community development approaches, engagement and collaboration.
Clare PPN is a network of community, voluntary, environmental and social inclusion groups from Clare. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the formal participation by the community sector in Clare County Council’s policy formation structures.
Clare Women’s Network supports and encourages the coming together of women’s groups and individual women in Clare. Its work is guided by women’s equality, inclusion, community development and feminist principles.
The Traveller Health Unit (THU) is underpinned by the social determinants of health that are at the root of Traveller health inequalities. This approach enables a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
What’s been happening with the CETA trade deal?
Back in February of this year, CETA – the controversial trade deal between the EU and Canada – was the subject of an emergency motion unanimously passed by Clare County Council
The motion – which called on the Irish Government “to allow a full, open and democratic debate, including pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Oireachtas Committee”, ahead of the Dáil vote on ratification of CETA – was initiated by Clare PPN, on foot of a request by a majority of member groups in our Environmental College.
Clare PPN member groups were very concerned at the lack of public debate and political scrutiny of CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and were particularly troubled by the Investor Court System (ICS) element of CETA and the ‘regulatory chill’ effect it would have on policymaking on a wide range of issues, including the environment, public health, economic and human rights.
Several other local authorities passed similar motions at about the same time. These, and a broad civil society campaign against CETA’s investor court system, resulted in the Government referring the matter to the the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs for further scrutiny. Several other Oireachtas committees are also scheduled to scrutinise the ICS element of CETA before a vote on ratification.
A Dáil vote on ratification of CETA had been due to take place in December in 2021 but was postponed when several Green Party TDs indicated they would vote against it. There is still no word on when the Government may try to have CETA ratified by the Dáil, but in March Green Party TD Patrick Costello lodged a High Court challenge against the Government over the constitutionality of the parts of CETA that provide for the establishment of ‘investor courts’. His case is that the investor court system involves an unconstitutional transfer of sovereignty and judicial power. A hearing date of July 13th has now been set for this High Court action, which is scheduled to run for four days. You can read more about the court case here:
Earlier this month (June), Sinn Féin Senator Senator Lynn Boylan also launched a High Court action against the Government’s implementation of CETA. Although similar to Mr Costello’s action against the State, the legal argument is technically different. Ms Boylan’s case focuses on the committee that would be set up as part of the investor court, which she argues can amend the rules or access to the court without Oireachtas oversight. Read more about Boylan’s case here:
On May 26th, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar appeared before the committee on European Affairs to answer questions about CETA. He argued that delaying ratification would send a message of a “waning commitment to free trade”. Committee member, Independent Senator Alice Mary Higgins said that she found it surprising that there has not been a risk analysis on the impact of CETA on the national finances. Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan said that the investor court system’s costs would be “quite substantial”. She said that France, Germany, Netherlands and Italy among others had not finished ratifying the treaty, so it was not the case that Ireland was “a laggard”. The committee is continuing its scrutiny of CETA.
You can read more information about CETA prepared by the Comhlámh Trade Justice Group:
Clare PPN Newsletter June 2021
It’s mid-summer and our June newsletter is in the air.
Click here to see a PDF of the newsletter:
Motion calling for global fracking ban passed unanimously by Clare County Council
Clare County Council has unanimously passed a motion calling on the Irish Government to propose a global ban on fracking at the United Nations General Assembly “on climate-mitigation, public-health, environmental-protection and human-rights grounds”.
The historic motion, part of a global initiative calling for a UN resolution to ban fracking, was proposed by Cllrs Pat Hayes, Cillian Murphy and Tony O’Brien at the Council meeting on Monday, June 21st.
Proposing the motion, Cllr Pat Hayes (FG) pointed out that Clare was the first local authority in Ireland to ban fracking, in 2012, which led to a national ban in 2017. He praised the “wonderful organisations here in Clare who have supported this ban, including Futureproof Clare, Fridays for Future Clare and Clare PPN,” and said the environment was the most important issue for the Council to have on its agenda.
Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) said: “The longer fracking takes place, the greater the body of evidence that these activities are dangerous and include detrimental impacts on water, air, climate stability, public health, farming and human rights… We do not tolerate fracking here in Ireland. So it is only right and proper that Ireland introduce and lead co-sponsorship of a UN resolution to propose a global ban on fracking. To do otherwise would be entirely and utterly hypocritical.”
Susan Crawford (Green Party) said the Irish Centre for Human Rights has stated that fracking “impacts several rights, including the right to life, health, water, food, country … and the right to safe, clean and healthy environment.”
In April the Irish Centre for Human Rights and a group of Irish NGOs wrote to the Irish Government, arguing that Ireland was uniquely well-positioned to lead this effort. As well as being a member of the UN Security Council, Ireland became one of the first countries in the world to ban fracking in 2017, and in 2018 it became the first country in the world to introduce legislation to divest public funds from fossil fuels.
At Clare PPN’s last plenary meeting on May 11th, it was unanimously agreed that Clare PPN supported the call for a global ban on fracking at the UN.
The campaign for the Irish Government to bring this proposal to the UN is the subject of an international petition, to which all community groups and individuals can add their names. You can read all about the petition and sign it, at this link:
Clare’s coming out! – webinar for LGBTQ+ people, their families & friends in Clare
Information event on July 7th to feature Mayo GAA star Fiona McHale and speakers from LGBTQ+ support organisations
An event to mark Pride Month in Clare will offer help to communities and organisations on how they can best support the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people. The webinar, on July 7th, will be of interest to LGBTQ+ people living in Clare, their families and friends and anyone who wants to support them.
The information event, hosted by Quare Clare and Clare Sports Partnership, will feature Mayo All-Star footballer Fiona McHale, who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Fiona is also a PhD researcher in Physical activity & Health at the University of Limerick.
Representatives of Belong To, GOSHH and LINC, three of the support and community organisations available to LGBTQ+ people and their families in Ireland, will also speak at the webinar.
The webinar will take place from 7:30pm on Wednesday, July 7th, and you can register to take part at this Eventbrite link:
Bernie O’Gorman of Quare Clare said:
“An online survey we conducted in March highlighted an urgent need for supports and services for the LGBTQ+ community Clare. 80% of people who responded said they would like more connection with other LGBTQ+ people in the county.
“Over half of all respondents did not feel sufficiently connected and supported in their community, and it was clear from written responses that there is a big demand for a social outlet or LGBTQ+ group in Clare.”
Belong To is a national organisation that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people in Ireland.
GOSHH! (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health and HIV) is based in Limerick but also works to support LGBTQ+ people in Clare.
LINC is based in Cork and advocates for Lesbian and Bisexual Women in Ireland.
Quare Clare is a new group that has held online meetings and in May ran a very successful ‘Quare Quiz’ social event. Anyone from the LGBTQ+ community in Clare who would like to get involved in Quare Clare can email email@example.com to find out more.
Quare Clare was established as the result of a short-term project run jointly by Clare Public Participation Network, Clare Women’s Network, Clare Local Development Company and Rape Crisis Midwest, and supported by The Department of Rural and Community Development and Clare County Council. For this Pride Month event, they are delighted to be joined by Clare Sports Partnership, who are also keen to publicly demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusivity.