Submission on Marine Protected Areas
Clare PPN and Clare Environmental Network have made a joint submission as part of the public consultation on ‘Expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Area Network’.
You can read our submission here:
Our seas are at risk – tell the government you want action
Make your voice heard by making a submission on Marine Protected Areas before Friday, July 30th
The oceans give us everything. For generations we have lived off the sea – especially here in Clare. But our seas are now at crisis point, following years of attack from supertrawlers, aquaculture, oil and gas exploration, plastic and noise pollution, to mention just a few of the threats to our precious marine life. Large predatory fish have declined by 90% since the advent of industrial fishing and many species face extinction.
The good news is that sea-life has a remarkable ability to bounce back once these threats are removed. Scientists worldwide agree that a network of properly-managed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) allows marine habitats to recover and replenish.
Just 2% of Ireland’s incredibly diverse sea area is designated as protected areas, but there is almost no monitoring or policing of these. Supertrawlers can legally operate in these areas.
Clare-based ocean wildlife filmmaker Ken O’Sullivan says that to rebuild marine ecosystems, we must designate at least 30% of our ocean for special protection by 2030. As marine life recovers, fish catches will increase and create sustainable jobs.
Ken is backing a call by Clare PPN’s environmental groups and Clare Environmental Network for groups and individuals in Clare to let the Government know we care about Ireland’s marine environment and want meaningful action to protect it.
You can have your say by making a submission as part of the government’s public consultation on an expert report, ‘Expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Area Network’. The consultation closes next Friday, July 30th, at 5pm.
HOW TO TAKE ACTION:
If you can spare 10 or 15 minutes, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line ‘MPA Public Consultation 2021’. You don’t need to be an expert and your submission can be as short or long as you like.
An email written by you will have more impact than a template email, but here are a few points you might like to make…
I support the expert report and would like to see the recommendations being swiftly implemented.
I would also like to see:
• Immediate action to protect existing Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas, for example the SAC in the Shannon Estuary.
• No industrial fishing in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – and especially no bottom-towed gears.
• 30% of Irish waters as MPAs as a minimum target for 2030.
• Support for fishing communities in Clare that may be negatively impacted by MPAs.
• Proper investment in scientific data gathering.
• All MPAs to be actively managed with public participation.
Another way to make a submission is go to the public consultation website and fill in an anonymous survey (where you can also download the full MPA report):
You can read more about MPAs at the Irish Wildlife Trust’s excellent website:
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.
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/
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:
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:
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:
Submission on National Waste Management Plan for a Circular Economy
Clare PPN and Clare Environmental Network have made a joint submission in respect of the pre-drafting of the National Waste Management Plan for a Circular Economy. You can read a copy of the submission here: