Clare groups express concerns about last-minute amendments to Ireland’s Climate Bill

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.

ENDS
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/

Text of Amendment 23

Funding for new Traveller Community Development Project Secured for Clare

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 dgreene@cldc.ie

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.

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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.
https://cldc.ie

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.
www.clareppn.ie

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.
https://nccwn.org/project/nccwn-clare/

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.
www.hse.ie

What’s been happening with the CETA trade deal?

What’s been happening with the CETA trade deal?

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:
https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/courtandcrime/arid-40293020.html

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:
https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40315589.html

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:
https://comhlamh.org/blog/comhlamh-concerns-ceta-trade-deal/

Energy Matters Presentation from CLDC/SEAI

Energy Matters Presentation from Gloria Callinan of CLDC

Clare PPN hosted a webinar on Sustainable Energy Opportunities for householders, small businesses and community groups on June 22nd 2021. This included a presentation from Gloria Callinan of Clare Local Development Company who is the Clare Community Energy Mentor for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.  The presentation contains very useful information on the supports and schemes available from SEAI and you can read it here: Opportunities for Clare Communities in Energy Transition

 

‘Our Rural Future’ Rural development policy and work programme

‘Our Rural Future’ Rural development policy and work programme

‘Our Rural Future’ Rural development policy and work programme

As requested by PPN’s over the last couple of weeks, the Department of Rural & Community Development in conjunction with in the Rural Strategy and Social Inclusion Unit, hosted a Webinar specifically for PPN’s on the recently launched “Our Rural Future – Rural Development Policy 2021 – 2025” by Minister Humphreys and the Government.  It was attended by the Minister of State, Joe O’Brien, T.D. who answered questions on the policy.  Gareth Makim of the rural strategy unit made the following presentation: Our Rural Future – PPN

Links to documents discussed:

‘Our Rural Future’ Rural Development Policy 2021-2025

‘Our Rural Future’ 2021 Work Programme

For queries on the policy you may contact the Rural Strategy Unit at ruralstrategy@drcd.gov.ie