Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Doolan - Bring the solutions down to the most local level

9 December, 2007

Sinn Féin Councillor Daithi Doolan speaking during the Environment debate at the party's conference 'Engaging Modern Ireland' said: "We need to climate proof our City & County Development Plans & combat urban sprawl. In our local communities we must ensure that we protect the most vulnerable, older people, the less well off people and those living in flood risk areas."

Councillor Doolan said:

"The protection of the environment is becoming one of the biggest challenges in the modern world. And more specifically the challenge of Climate Change.

The protection of the environment and the politics of environmentalism for many years was seen as an add-on, an after thought, something that was left in the sole ownership of the lentil bean and open sandal brigade.

But now it is, or should be, the thread that binds our politics together. Human rights, economics, development, planning, waste management, and international trade are all linked to the battle to protect our environment.

From the basics of the need to have clean water to drink, the right to live in a safe environment, to the war for the world’s resources are all indicators of just how serious the threat to our environment really is.

Many of these issues only tend to be seen on our televisions in our safe European home. But the causes, consequences & challenges are right outside our front door. Irelandis on the verge of a waste management crisis. The government continue impose incineration on our communities. We must stem the unsustainable growth of waste – not simple burn or bury it. We must limit our carbon emissions if we are to meet our demands under the Kyoto Agreement.

The politics & policies of a laissez faire approach will have disastrous consequences for us all- we need to properly address our environmental problems. We need a structured, leadership lead, community based response. We need a socialist response. Whereby economic development, world trade, planning and waste management are built on the principles of human rights, solidarity and equal access to wealth and resources. Where the policies adopted are based on economic, social and environmental sustainability.

You cannot solve the world’s environmental chaos by simply wearing a badge or casting a vote. It can only be done through the participation of people and through changing people’s behaviour. And to ensure success we must all think global act local! Bring the solutions down to the most local level.

We need to climate proof our City & County Development Plans & combat urban sprawl. In our local communities we must ensure that we protect the most vulnerable, older people, the less well off people and those living in flood risk areas.

Bearing this in mind, a number of us in Dublin worked on a motion and had it endorsed by Dublin City Council, the motion in simple terms called for the establishment of a Climate Change Working Group to draw up and implement a 5 year strategy, reviewed every 12 months to ensure this City impacts positively on climate change. The strategy will develop actions in areas including, waste management, transport, planning, energy, bio diversity and most important of all policy proofing. Policy proofing is to ensure that all policy developed by Dublin City Council is environmentally and ecologically proofed to meet the highest international standards.

We have since compiled a draft policy which was adopted at our recent City Council meeting and will now go out to public consultation until early 2008. We will be ensuring that as many NGO’s, campaigning groups, and members of the public will have an input into the final policy. It is only through such a participative process can we ensure a democratic outcome and maximise the impact of our policy.

I have a limited number of copies for anyone who wants to read it, any and all comments or suggestions are welcome.

But more importantly, I would encourage you all, particularly local councillors to take the document away read it modify it and adopt it by your own local authority.

It is only through our own national network of activists, elected and unelected, will we have a satisfactory outcome.

Sinn Fein are better positioned than any other political party to take the issue of environmental sustainability to the 4 corners of this island and work on solutions at local level and I hope this document will be of assistance to us all in doing exactly that.

Thank you all very much for listening.



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