Theresa O’Donohue

Theresa O’Donohue

THERESA D’DONOHUE

I’ve been involved in environmental activism and policy making since 2007. I began to work collaboratively on sustainable community development when I discovered the Transition Network in 2007. I joined a local transition group and we basically went from turning sustainable development ideas into community projects. Some projects succeeded while others did not. I learned a LOT about community development and participation through training and experience. I noticed that many attempts to bring projects to life are blocked by bureaucracy resulting in fatigue and withdrawal by people from participating. Creative, insightful, brilliant people with amazing ideas are beaten down by the system. I’ve done the courses and it’s really the government that gets in the way.

I progressed from projects to analysing and attempting to shape the policy to support the projects. In 2009 I got involved with Laois County Development Board trying to reshape policy to appreciate public participation especially in the transition context. I realised that representative democracy is a joke and that elected officials dependent upon votes are also dependent upon council staff to deliver on their pot hole promises! Therefore they do not rock the boat if they wish to get the jobs done that support their reelection! It’s a vicious cycle.

Turns out changing local policy isn’t enough anyway. Very often the council staff will sit back and refuse to change until they get direction from central government. Effectively – even if they have all these insightful progressive policies that you worked for hours on submissions to infiltrate they will not act upon them unless they are forced to. Of course they need the resources too.

This left me with no choice but to infiltrate national policy. So I became involved with more and more national bodies in order to influence national policy so that local policy can be changed and resourced to accommodate the publics participation in our transition to a resilient, more sustainable society. Also nationally I have been on the steering group of the Environmental Pillar, the environmental social partner made up of Non-Governmental Organisations. I am involved with Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland where I coordinated the People’s Energy Charter. I’m a member of Feasta, Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability and An Taisce’s Climate Change Committee. These have given me an amazing insight into national policy making and governance first hand. I was also a member of the National Economic and Social Council and the National Advisory Groups on PPNs. I am currently a member of Extinction Rebellion and still involved with Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland.

As well as catalysing Laois and Clare Environmental Networks I was a founding Secretariat member of Clare PPN and a cofounder of Futureproof Clare.

Tracy Watson

Tracy Watson

Tracy Watson

 

Tracy is an experienced Environmental Scientist having worked with the UK Environment Agency in water quality policy and as an Environmental Officer in the Irish Pharmaceutical industry for the past 17 years. She also has a NUIG diploma in Corporate Environmental Planning which has emphasized the importance of public participation in policy and decision making around environmental matters and given me a better understanding of its role & effectiveness.

Tracy wants to contribute to putting environmental sustainability, biodiversity and climate action into the heart of the decisions made for County Clare, as these issues underpin the quality of life now and in the long term.

Dermot Hayes

Dermot Hayes

DERMOT HAYES

Originally from Kells, Corofin, I have been based in Ennis for some years. As a young lad I was very active in the Corofin Youth Club and Hall Committee. In my early working life, I was very active in trade unions, becoming Shop Steward and later President of Clare Trade Union. I also became chair of the Trades Council.

I stood for local elections a number of times with the themes of social inclusion and efforts to represent those on the margins. I failed to get elected despite running very close.

In 1992, together with other people with disabilities, I set up a Disabled People of Clare, with the human rights approach – “Nothing about us without us”. We became active in change locally and nationally. This led to the setting up in recent years of the Clare Leader Forum, in which I am very active.

Also during the late 1990s, I was very active in the Ennis CDP, up to its closing in 2016. This group worked with Travellers and with those who came to Ireland seeking asylum. I am also so very involved in my local residents’ association.

Nationally, I am on the board of the Independent Living Movement Network. I was nominated to a disability committee under the Disability Act 2005. I was elected to Clare LCDC and to the SPC on Social Policy, roles from which I had to step down when I stood in last year’s local elections. I will endeavour to maintain communication with relevant Clare PPN groups to represent you to the best of my ability.

Monica McKenna

Monica McKenna

Monica McKenna

 

Monica is a community worker who is passionate in working for social justice and equality. Monica is an active member of a number of groups including West Clare Mental Health Association. She is passionate about improving the quality of life for those in the community that are experiencing exclusion. A native of Tipperary now residing in West Clare Monica sees the need for local sustainable supports key to the development of vibrant rural communities