Economic Development SPC report 6th December 2021 by Emma Karran

LEO Update (presentation)

Questions / comments:

Padraic answered Gabriel K’s question about apprenticeships by saying they’re not a direct focus atm but they’re number 1 on the agenda of the MD Regional Skills Forum that he’s Chair of. Possibly a topic for the SPC in the New Year (Joe Leddon to be invited to talk)

Johnny F asked about placements, as he says young people are finding it hard to get them. P replied that they’re not a focus but he’ll feed it back in. Johnny also asked if digital training courses were recorded. P said that some of the providers are paid, so might not want their material shared on a public domain.

He responded to Michael B that LEO has no role in child care any more (since 2014). He also said he’d seen a good spread of business success / initiatives across Clare. And there will be a new digital voucher available soon

Climate Change and Biodiversity (presentation by Congella McGuire

Phrases like “working with nature” or “nature based solutions” and soft engineering solutions were all that seemed to be on offer for dealing eg with flood risk and coastal erosion. There is a manual with advice for staff  Much was made of the collaboration with the OPW. Clare Co Co were proposing that ISSA (Seed Savers) be partnered with National Botanical Garden

Questions / comments:

I said a piece about the glaring fact that the present mindset about economic growth was clearly not sustainable, given the ravaging of the natural world that was coming back to bite us hard. Liam referred to what I’d said a bit later on, suggested we do “everything in a green and environmentally friendly way” and that we “put into projects commensurate to what we get out”.  I also asked how the new Loop Head conservation group could feed their findings into the county wide work. Not clear from Congella’s response but perhaps something to explore. She certainly welcomed regional initiatives.

Various councillors responded to the presentation saying how well Clare was doing, compared to other counties (but that may not be saying much!).  Johnny asked if the Clare Biodiversity Officer post was still vacant – and that it was worrying if it was. Liam replied that talks were ongoing, a job description being put together, questions of where funding would come from. Pat Daly asked if the council wold consider lighting up Clare Abbey at night. Congella replied it’s owned by OPW and there are ongoing talks about it (possible problem for the bats).  Michael Begley asked about how to get rid of bats from public buildings. Congella said this would involve the Nat Parks and Wildlife Service – to find a way for them to reside without their droppings being a problem.

CDP review update(presentation)

Current plan has been extended to 29/4/23 – unless another plan is made before this date. Pre-draft plan will be on public display from 10/12/21 until 28/3/22 – and submissions are being encouraged. There will be public consultations throughout the county.  They are looking at a social media campaign, online webinars, a portal to make submissions, Clare FM and local press and ongoing engagement with schools as well to encourage participation.

Questions / comments:

I asked if there would be any focus group consultations, eg environmental issues (wide reaching consequences) – no there won’t was Helen Q’s reply (but Vol 1 and Vol 10 hold the assessments that have been done, that feed into the pre-draft plan)

M Begley asked how much land has been zoned (thinking of housing shortage). He was told to look at the plan on the 10th.

LECP guidelines (circulated)

Govt have a new town and village sector policy objective; funding will follow; need to look at how to feed that into the LECP.  Pat Morris suggested we might get Shell to give a presentation about the Offshore Wind Farm being planned off the west coast. Liam did say at the end, referring back to my point about environmental concerns regarding economic development ‘way of doing business’ at present that he welcomed feedback at this SPC.


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