“How much do I love thee environment?” asks An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. “Let me count the ways” … NOT! That is why he has just done away with the Minister for Environment portfolio. Instead, we now have in Denis Naughton, a Minister for Communication, Climate Change and Natural Resources. Incidently, this is the same man who is on record as saying that we should row back on climate change law as it would mean Ireland would have to reduce cattle numbers. Fair play to Uplift.ie for putting in place a letter-writing campaign to An Taoiseach to help him see the error of his ways: https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/the-taoiseach-must-reverse-his-decision-to-abolish-the-department-of-the-environment.
The Green Party has welcomed the Government u-turn on introducing mandatory minimum pay-by-weight charges for the collection of household recyclables. It says that the Government must now do more to promote recycling over landfill or incineration as part of its efforts to bring about better waste management.
“I’m glad that the new Government has recognised the futility of introducing these charges”, says Wexford Green Party Chairwoman Ann Walsh. “Given a choice most people will behave responsible and do what’s best for the environment. Why then should they be penalised for disposing of waste responsibly?”
She goes on to say that “We need to encourage an appreciation of the importance of recycling and of looking after our environment rather than implementing yet another charge when so many people are struggling to get by.”
This is a view echoed by party leader Eamonn Ryan in welcoming the Government decision not to bring in the charges. “It was a short sighted move. The public outcry against the charges shows the level of support for meaningful recycling initiatives. It’s now up to the waste management companies to ensure that recycling stays free to the public.”
The Greens have generally not been happy with the reversals by the last Government in environmental and waste management policy. They say, for example, that incineration should have no place in Ireland’s waste management plans. This is in keeping with the EU waste management hierarchy whereby recycling is prioritised over landfill and incineration.
When it comes to managing the country’s waste, Ann Walsh’s message to Minister Simon Coveney is to get back to basics. “Go to any school in the country and even the youngest children will tell you that the best way to stop waste going to landfill is Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. The Government must let the three Rs guide its thinking on how we deal with household waste.”
Ms Walsh said that she would like to see more done at a local level to encourage greater levels of recycling and composting. She mentioned a composting pilot project undertaken in recent years by Wexford County Council. “When tested the compost was found to be better than commercially available peat moss.” She also spoke of a recent Get Involved project, the aim of which was to get more households composting. “With a little guidance and hand-holding lots more households could be making their own highly nutritious compost.”
New Green Party TD Catherine Martin made her maiden speech in the Dáil today. And what a speech. She focused on something that has been exercising the national media for the past 47 days and she said what most of the country has been thinking: “How can the current strangulation of representative democracy, a choking of the workings of Dáil Éireann be in the national interest? This reckless approach cares little for tackling the unprecedented crisis of homelessness, the escalating rental crisis, hospital waiting lists and climate justice.” She let the two biggest parties in the Dáil have it for their failure to act responsibly and do what’s best for the country rather than playing silly games. “Government formation should not be hijacked by self-serving party political concerns. The people are sovereign, they have spoken and especially in the context of the current fragility of the Irish economic recovery.” Certainly the actions of the two big parties must give the Greens reason to be nervous about throwing in their lot with either. Neither Catherine Martin or her fellow Green TD, party leader John Gormley, has yet given any indication that they are prepared to be part of any minority government. Like most of the independents they first want to see the two main parties arriving at some sort of consensus.
Good article by Cara Augustenborg in today’s Indo. The current outgoing Dáil was much the poorer for not having a green voice. The so called establishment parties (on the right, less right and centre!) have barely a word to say on climate change and how we should prepare to deal with it. The government has chosen to take the well-trodden path of economic success above all (even if some economists have questioned whether our recent economic gains have been achieved despite and not because of government policy). The motley and multi-hued independent TDs appear to suffer from the same blissful ignorance on the subject of climate change. Some of the latter may have done some good highlighting abuses of power and dodgy goings-on but that’s about as far as it goes. It really is time to have a strong voice in the Dáil trumpeting the need for all those ignored alternatives: sustainable development, the need for resilience in our policies and our planning, re-introducing the concept of inter-connectedness back into our communities.
With #GE16 almost upon us we hope that whoever ends up with their hands on the tiller of the good ship Ireland can deliver on all the pre-election promises made. On the environmental front we want to see a focus on four key areas:
• truly sustainable jobs
• end environmental destruction
• support protection of the environment
• make Ireland future-proof.
Given the resounding silence from all quarters of the political spectrum I wouldn’t be holding my breath.
“Same as it ever was” sang David Byrne of Talking Heads. He might well have been talking about the performance of our political leaders in the first of the pre-election Leaders’ Debates on RTE 1. The amount of populist rhetoric and selective amnesia along with over-promising, trumpet-blowing, self-praising drivel we witnessed suggests that, if we are looking to our political leaders for a mature and reasoned approach to future-proofing this country so as to better prepare us to navigate the troubled waters ahead, we are looking in the wrong place. And, as this article points out, the subject of climate change did not even arise.
In the Green Party, positions such as these are agreed by a 66% vote of our members. In the past, the Green Party has had no position on repeal or otherwise of the 8th amendment.
At our most recent convention (2016), it was resolved that the party would take a position. We are advocating the repeal of the 8th amendment and to legislate that the question of whether to terminate a pregnancy be left to those closest to decide in certain cases. Those are in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, endangerment to the health/life of the mother, and of rape.
This change in position came about following events of the past few years. As a consequence of these events, many pro-life members of the party no longer believe that the 8th amendment is beneficial to either mothers, families or the unborn.
Many in the party still do assert that the only way to protect the unborn is by maintaining the 8th amendment. As a party, we respect different views and assert the right of everyone to be heard. The party has a policy of allowing elected members to abstain from voting where they disagree with party position on matters of conscience. We have a policy of allowing candidates for election to state their own views while stressing the party position.
Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, speaks at the Ashdown Park Hotel, Gorey this Friday, Feb 5, at 7.30pm. Eamon is coming to Wexford with a message: it is time for the Greens to make their voice heard again in the Dáil. It may be a small voice but it is an essential one.
In a speech entitled “Think Ahead, Act Now” the Green Party leader will outline his vision for a sustainable economy, how the action we take now will determine what sort of future our children have to look forward to.
Wexford Green Party candidate Ann Walsh will outline her stance on
· The digital economy
This meeting is open to anyone interested in hearing how having a Green Party presence in the Dáil is needed now more than ever.
Further info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wexford Green Party’s candidate in the General Election, Ann Walsh, pulled a big crowd to her launch party last Friday. I think it is fair to say that this is the very first Green Party event ever at The Golden Anchor in Castletown, the county’s most northerly village.
Independent Wicklow Councillor, and good friend of Ann, Miriam Murphy along with former TD and Minister for Food Trevor Sargent were on hand to speak. Miriam is a seasoned campaigner and a much respected politician. Ann is fortunate to have her on side to help prepare for the road ahead. Ditto as regards Trevor who is never shy about sharing his huge knowledge, experience and common sense.
Ann herself is nothing if not passionate. In launching her campaign and laying out her manifesto she proved to be knowledgable, eloquent, persuasive and witty. That’s a winning combination in my book! She especially knows her away around the healthcare system and could write the book on disability and special needs services. She is also very strong on the need to nurture, support and grow the much forgotten and neglected network that makes up rural Ireland. Once elected she will kickstart her mission to remedy this in her own Castletown!
Ann is already very busy on the canvas trail. She has a small but committed team. If you have any bit of green in you and you want to give her a few hours of your time, anywhere in the county, give her a shout. Email email@example.com. Tel 086 0222672.
The 2016 Green Party Election Convention takes place January 16th in the Hilton Hotel, Dublin 2. We are looking forward to meeting up with fellow members and friends of the Greens and to hearing from our candidates from around the island. The day promises to be full of interesting and interactive debates.
Eamon Ryan and the Green Party could bring a fresh perspective to political landscape says Alison O’Connor writing today in the Irish Examiner.
Referring to Ryan she says “Listening to him it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that Irish politics is a better place with the Greens in it. There are lots of people out there who are realising how little we seem to have learnt from our spectacular fall from economic grace; how the political research shows that while apparently none of us want to go “back there” collectively as a society, we would rather like to do so for ourselves individually to regain all that we personally lost.”
She finishes with “While the Greens say they’ve given up on being our guilty conscience they could well serve a purpose in reminding us that it is not all simply about money.”
Couldn’t have put it better myself!
Ann Walsh officially launches her election campaign on Friday 8th Jan at 7.15pm at the Golden Anchor in Castletown. Trevor Sargent will attend and speak. Ann herself will outline her reasons for running and detail why she believes the Green voice must be heard now more than ever. Everyone is welcome to attend. Lecturing and preaching will be kept to a minimum! Light refreshments served.
There is more than sufficient evidence to show that our politicians, national and local, cannot be trusted to deliver proper implementation of planning policy. The Celtic Tiger years particularly brought this to the fore. Consider this: tax breaks (to encourage you to build for speculative rather than local needs); putting major, often controversial, infrastructural projects above the normal planning process; poor, and in cases reckless, zoning; a total, and again often reckless, lack of will to stick to the National Spatial Strategy; ditto, at a county level, to Development Plans; interference with the planning process at a local level. Much of the terrible flooding happening all over the country this Winter is attributable to bad planning along with an ongoing lack of sustainable management of the natural environment.
I wonder could we farm the job of running the country’s planning department out to the Germans? Actually maybe ask them to come in and run the whole show!
The Irish Times reports that, according to a survey carried out by www.whichcandidate.ie, housing and health are the issues at the top of the list of most candidates in the upcoming General Election. Other items getting prominent mention were education, water charges, jobs and abortion.
We like this ‘Proclamation’ in which the community is central to the process of making the transition to “a clean, secure energy future”: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B91skN4BggMWTzFxd1MxeFFob1k/view
The Green Party has announced that Ann Walsh will be the party’s candidate for Co Wexford in the 2016 General Election.
Ann, originally from New Ross but now living in Castletown, says she is very much looking forward to the challenge.
“The Green Party has always represented integrity and I feel that now, more than ever, we need to have a presence in the Dáil. I’ve always believed politics should be about working together for the greater good, focusing on collaboration rather than conflict. In this time of great economic, social and environmental flux we need to look at what we do well, acknowledge what doesn’t work and needs to change, and move forward from there.”
Ann has extensive knowledge and experience, both personally and professionally, in the areas of mental health and disability in particular.
Wexford County Council is presently working on the Wexford Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) 2016-2021. September 22 is the deadline for public submissions.
A draft Socio-Economic Statement identifying the following six high level goals has been prepared:
1 Foster the culture of educational attainment and lifelong learning in County Wexford and provide opportunities to develop educational and workforce skills, to improve work readiness and access to employment.
2 Support and promote the development of socially inclusive sustainable communities in County Wexford.
3 Position and market County Wexford as a great place to live, work, visit and do business.
4 Develop an outstanding business environment for starting, growing and attracting business to County Wexford.
5 Continue to protect and enhance our infrastructure and promote resource efficiency in order to create the right conditions for long term sustainable economic growth.
6 Protect and sensitively utilise our natural, built and cultural heritage assets and capitalise on their economic potential.
Have a look at the draft statement and goals to get a better idea where the Council is coming from on this. Then get your suggestions in before the deadline expires.
We are delighted to report that, following representations made to Wexford County Council, Redmond Park is to have funds allocated to its upgrading. We understand that top of the list is the playground, followed by plans to bring back the much-missed pond. The Love Redmond Park group is also pushing the Council to include the overgrown stretch of ground at the bottom of Parklands in its upgrading plans. The LRP group is on a bit of a high right now having just organised another successful end-of-Summer Picnic in the Park.
There is a well written opinion piece, “Fennelly highlights ruthlessness of the Taoiseach when the chips are down”, in The Wexford People this week (link below). I presume it is in all the other local and regional newspapers in the INM group also. The thrust of the article is that, whenever it looks like rough waters ahead for the government or, more specifically An Taoiseach, every effort will be made to smooth those same waters, regardless of who gets hurt in the process. So the Garda Commissioner’s head is delivered on a plate, a Minister for Justice resigns, a senior Justice Dept figure exits the stage … and the man at the top continues serenely on his way. The last line talks of “how messy and Taoiseach-centred the running of the country is when the chips are down”. The fact that rural crime is at an all-time high or that morale in An Garda Suíochána is at an all-time low really does not matter.