Clare PPN was chosen by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) to host an online Local Climate Conversation on 15th March. These conversations have been taking place across Ireland as part of the National Dialogue on Climate Action, to inform the development of the Government’s 2021 Climate Action Plan and also the roll-out of the Climate Action Fund.
On December 7th Clare PPN co-hosted online meetings with each of Clare’s four TDs, as part of a nationwide ’TD Lobby for Faster & Fairer Climate Action’. This ‘mass lobby’, organised by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, has happened in previous years at a venue next to Leinster House in Dublin, but this was the first time the event took place online. This had the advantage of far more people taking part – nationally, more than 1,000 people joined Zoom calls with their local TDs, to tell them how urgent the need for radical climate action is.
We also had a great turnout here in Clare and we had very meaningful and constructive discussions with our four Dáil representatives. (The above image is from the meeting with Cathal Crowe TD.)
One of the organisers of the Clare TD lobby, Romie Cullen of Tuamgraney, was quoted in an Irish Times article about the event:
“People from our community are taking part because we’re alarmed about loopholes in the climate Bill. We’ll be asking our TDs to do everything they can to make the new climate law as strong as possible to drive the rapid and just transition we need to zero pollution. The draft Bill as it stands today is simply not good enough.”
The key demand was for TDs to sign a letter, drafted by Stop Climate Chaos, and to send it to Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan. The letter highlights concrete steps the Government can immediately take to kickstart a decade of faster and fairer climate action, including closing the glaring loopholes in the Climate Action Bill and acting urgently to cut emissions in all sectors.
By the way, the Climate Action Bill has been undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA), which has just published its report on the Bill. You can download it here.
During the meetings with TDs, participants in Clare also raised several other issues:
• Plans for Moneypoint power station, for example, whether it can be used as part plans for offshore wind or tidal energy.
• The proposed Shannon LNG gas import terminal on the Shannon Estuary and the wider issue of the possible importation of fracked gas elsewhere in Ireland.
• Another issue raised with TDs was the lack of engagement by Clare County Council with environmental submissions made to the council by member groups of Clare Environmental Network and Clare PPN. Some of the TDs offered to help raised awareness about this problem.
The first Zoom call was with Cathal Crowe (FF), who said he would advocate against allowing the importation of fracked gas to Ireland, He also raised the issue of Irish Cement’ proposed incinerator at its plant in Mungret, Limerick, and he asked the group to lodge objections with the EPA.
Joe Carey (FG) promised to raise the urgency of strong and effective climate action with Minister Eamonn Ryan.
Violet-Anne Wynne (SF) has agreed to sign the above-mentioned letter to the three Government party leaders. At the time of writing she is the only Clare TD who has undertaken to sign the letter. The others said they would read it and consider signing it.
Our final call was with Michael McNamara (Ind). He promised to raise the issue of fracked gas imports with the government party leaders, and he suggested that he could table an amendment to the Climate Action Bill, when it comes before the Dáil next year.
All four TDs agreed to meet the group again in the new year for further discussions on climate action. Nationally, Stop Climate Chaos is awaiting developments with the Climate Action Bill – there may be further mass lobbying of TDs in late January or February.
If you would like to be involved in the group’s further discussions with our TDs, please email: clareTDlobby@gmail.com
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