Clare Public Participation Network Submission to Committee on Climate Action 2020
Following a meeting on Monday 2nd November of members of Clare PPN’s Environmental College and Clare Environmental Network the decision was made that Clare PPN would make a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action which has been conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of the very important Draft Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Our submission engages with the resourcing of Local Authorities, Public Participation and with the need for Just Transition to be explicitly mandated in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020.
This submission does not cover the other aspects of this Bill and Clare PPN/CEN members may make further submissions on the targets, wording, and ambition of it at a later date.
You can read our submission here : Clare Public Participation Network Submission to Committee on Climate Action 2020
Minutes of Clare PPN Reps meeting
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
Present: Damon Matthew Wise, Emma Karan, Eugene Cremins, Fionnuala Collins, George Atijohn, Hilary Tonge, James Giller, Mary Leahy, Mary O’Donoghue, Noel Kearney, Oonagh O’Dwyer, Padraic Hayes, Madeline McAleer, Sarah Clancy, Sarah Ferrigan, William Hederman
Apologies: Aisling Wheeler, Annie Wise, Elaine Dalton, Helen Liddy, Jean O’Keefe
Facilitated by: Sarah Ferrigan
Minutes: William Hederman
UPDATE FROM LAST MEETING
Suggestions on the Work Plan from the last meeting included: developing a Communications Strategy, both media and social media; encouraging people to support local businesses; encouraging people to protect bees and biodiversity.
UPDATES ON COUNTY COUNCIL, SPCs etc
County Council due to meet next Monday, 8th June, in Glór. SPCs due to start meeting in June. This week a call was also made for the LCDC to meet soon.
Several people said the PPN Reps had been ignored for the past three months. The Council has not involved the voice of the community during the pandemic, when in fact this is exactly when community’s input is needed. Agreed that this should be raised, but noted that councillors are not necessarily the ones to target, as they may also be feeling left out.
UPDATE ON FINANCES & RESOURCES AVAILABLE
Sarah Ferrigan gave an update. Once running/fixed costs have been accounted for, we have approx €4,500, to spend mostly on ‘Training & Development’ and ‘Projects & Events’. This is a low amount.
We have pre-paid €1,800 for training in three areas: Cultural Diversity & Anti-Racism; Local Government; Media. This can be online.
We also have paid for some venues for events. And for some transport with Clare Bus.
DISCUSSION ON WORK PLAN
Sarah Clancy: key ambitions are becoming more effective at having the views of community and voluntary sector taken on board at local authority level; and encouraging participation and a sense of ownership of the PPN among people in Clare.
Open discussion – suggestions were based mostly around:
- i) mental health, especially due to effects of lockdown;
- ii) supporting people to retrain, refocus careers, an ideas fair;
iii) seminars / webinars
Noel: Can we include in PPN people with mental health difficulties? Also, we should tie in with Aoife Boland of AIRES Mid West/ HSE.
Sarah C: We can do events around mental health, but note that our role is to influence policy, not to provide service. We need to make sure mental health is considered in all relevant forums. Should we declare that we are a mental health friendly organisation?
Mary O’D: Suggests a poster and a spread in Clare Champion about all the orgs and agencies you can contact if you’re feeling down.
Hilary: Good time to boost the PPN online, as everyone is at home and online. Boost posts. Perhaps a weekly training session; life coaching.
Damon: Disabled People need social events, some don’t use social media very much.
Mary O’Donoghue: Points we are raising here should be expanded and input into Clare LECP (Local Economic and Community Plan), which is up for review soon, and other county-wide plans. Good opportunity to gather people’s views.
Fionnuala Collins : suggests holding an online conference on belonging to a democracy, focusing on the need for open, transparent input and decision-making. Also, we should signpost about options for getting back into the community – classes, social interaction, which places offer counselling, community garden etc
James Giller: Good time to invite public to participate, like the ‘What do we want?’ submissions. Also, pandemic has highlighted discrimination. Ask Council to push for policies to prevent and lessen discrimination. And suggests training for use of online tools.
Madeline: A webinar on ‘Where to post-Covid?’, with follow-up events and trainings, with the PPN leading with the message that community representation needs to be very strong now at decision-making level.
Madeline was contacted by a Colin McGann, who is making a documentary on people’s experiences in Clare during COVID:
Please note that we have his contacts but don’t want to share them online
Monday 15th June, 2020 at 6:30pm
Important update from Clare PPN on yesterday’s Clare County Council meeting.
Please note that we still need to seek clarity on some issues below as these are just based on our notes from yesterday and will need to be confirmed by official council minutes.
Update on Clare PPN’s Submissions to Clare County Council from their meeting of September 9th 2019
Yesterday, among other business, three items on which Clare PPN and our member groups had made submissions on were up for consideration by Clare County Council.
Those items were
• Clare County’s Draft Climate Adaptation Strategy 2019- 2024
• The Draft Scheme for Strategic Policy Committees 2019 – 2024
• Clare County’s Traveller Accommodation Strategy 2019- 2024
Clare PPN had contacted all Councillors seeking their support in advance of this meeting because it was brought to our attention that in particular the Draft Climate Adaptation Strategy was being presented to Councillors as originally drafted despite more than 29 individual submissions being received. One of those submissions was from Clare PPN and Clare Environmental Network and had been contributed to by 27 separate environmental groups in the County. We are grateful that a cross party group of Councillors sought and secured a special meeting of Clare County Council on the Draft Climate Adaptation Strategy. This will ensure that Councillors can consider each submission received and question the directors of service as to their decisions. This meeting will take place next Monday September 16th at 2pm in the Council Chamber and the gallery will be open to the public. We would encourage any of our members who made submissions to attend however we will also attend at take notes for feedback purposes.
As part of Clare PPN’s submissions to both the Draft Climate Adaptation Strategy 2019 -2024 and to the Draft Strategic Policy Committee 2019- 2024 we had requested that a separate dedicated Climate Change and Biodiversity Strategic Policy Committee be set up in Clare and that all other SPCs would have a minimum of one environmental representative seat. The proposal for a Climate Change and Biodiversity SPC was not agreed at yesterday’s meeting which is something that Clare PPN and our member groups consider a lost opportunity and it is something we will continue to campaign for. Several changes that we do welcome were proposed and seconded however by the Councillors and we look forward to seeing the following actions implemented:
-A full time Climate Change and Biodiversity Officer will be appointed from within existing staff resources to oversee Climate Change and Biodiversity Actions across all directorates.
-Each Strategic Policy Committee will have Climate Change and Biodiversity as a standing agenda item.
-Each Directorate will issue a monthly report on Climate Change and Biodiversity as part of their contribution to the Monthly Management Report.
We also note the proposals to rename/add areas of responsibility two existing Strategic Policy Committees as follows:
The Physical Development SPC will be renamed ‘SPC for Physical Development and Climate Change’ and the SPC for Economic Development will be renamed SPC for Economic Development and Biodiversity. On behalf of our members we seek clarification from the Council on the rationale for these changes, in particular we wish to ascertain the reason that Climate Change and Biodiversity are being separated and secondly how it was decided that biodiversity should sit with Economic Development. Clare PPN considers that the changes in responsibility for the above SPCs will necessitate extra seats for community environmental interests if they are to be effective. We will seek clarity from Clare County Council as to whether this has already been incorporated in the changes.
We thank the Councillors for their support in ensuring that the views of all of those who made submissions will be given consideration at Council level next Monday and for working to ensure that Climate Change and Biodiversity are made central to the work of all directorates in the Council. We look forward to working with them to ensure that these actions are implemented as soon as possible.
Submissions relating to the Traveller Community:
Our submission on the Draft Strategic Policy Scheme requested that the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee be reconfigured as a Strategic Policy Committee which is in line with a proposal made in an independently commissioned report for the National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee. This was not accepted and the LTACC will instead continue as a stand-alone committee, where issues raised may come before the Social Development SPC which deals with housing. Clare PPN is disappointed that this committee was not reconfigured as suggested however we remain committed to working alongside Travellers to ensure that successful and meaningful participation is possible for the Traveller Community in Clare.
Further to that we welcome the fact that the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019 – 2024 was not adopted at yesterday’s Council meeting and was deferred until next month’s meeting. We had expressed our concerns that this plan was being passed without involvement from the Traveller Community. We will seek clarity however from Clare County Council on whether during this deferred month the Draft Traveller Accommodation Programme will reopen for submissions and if so what efforts will be made by the Local Authority to ensure that the community affected by this accommodation programme have an opportunity to have their views heard. Clare PPN is willing to assist in this regard in whatever way we can.
Overall we feel that several progressive changes were agreed at yesterday’s council meeting and whilst some of the above needs clarification we are extremely glad that the above strategies were not passed without respect and consideration given to community engagement. We hope to see further progress being made, in particular in relation to the issue of a dedicated Climate Change and Biodiversity SPC and towards a respectful and meaningful engagement between the Traveller community and the local authority. We state Clare PPN’s own commitment to working to ensure that the public and in particular Community and voluntary groups in Clare are able to influence and input to Local Government decisions. Thanks to the Councillors for their work on all of the above and in particular our thanks to all of those who engaged with and participated in our submissions.
Please note that as we said above these are not official minutes from Clare County Council’s meeting but are notes taken as the meeting happened so we can’t guarantee that we have no inaccuracies – but we’ll confirm as we get all details and official reports.