Just World. the Blog.

May 12, 2015

We need a Climate Bill with ambition

By Jerry Mac Evilly, Trócaire Policy Officer

An international environmental legal organisation has found significant failings in the Government’s proposed Climate Bill and warns that the legislation will fail unless critical weaknesses are addressed.

Client Earth, an environmental legal organisation based in London, has warned that weak legislation can “lock-in a high carbon society” and specifically called on the Minister for the Environment to revise the Bill to ensure the independence of the proposed expert advisory group and the introduction of long-term binding national climate targets.

According to the report issued by the firm and commissioned by the Stop Climate Chaos network of Irish NGOs:

“The purpose of enacting a national climate law is to help ensure that an optimal policy mix is consistently pursued to bring about cost-effective long-term decarbonisation. A poorly designed law can 'lock in' a high carbon society and thereby increase the costs when a country does make the inevitable transition to a low carbon future.”

People Climate march in Dublin

People's Climate members call for a fossil free future in Dublin (Photo: Alan Whelan)


Climate change is a key driver of poverty in the developing world but it is developed nations who are primarily responsible, having contributed most to harmful increases in carbon emissions. The Government needs to put in place a strong Climate Bill to ensure that Ireland is a leader of effective climate mitigation, not an ambivalent bystander.

This Bill is an opportunity for the Government to put climate policy back on track by taking a long-term, committed approach to reducing emissions. However, in its current form the Bill not only lacks ambition but will fail to achieve its basic objective of providing a clear and stable low-carbon transition.

The Bill will go to Committee stage over the coming weeks and we would call on the Minister to listen to the cross-party calls for stronger legislation to ensure Ireland has effective and meaningful climate legislation.

Read the full Client Earth report

April 22, 2015

Inspiring voices from the latest Climate Conversation

Trócaire and Christian Aid brought together members of different faith groups and green initiatives to talk about the inspiration required for action on climate change. 
On Monday night (20 April), Trócaire and Christian Aid co-hosted the fourth in a series of ‘Climate Conversations’. 
Held at Dublin’s Christchurch Cathedral, the event was titled ‘Prophetic Voices: The Call to Action’ and explored where and how people in modern Ireland might find inspiration to address the mammoth issue of climate change – drawing strength from their faith, spirituality, and personal morality.
Representatives from a number of faith communities in Ireland were present, from Buddhists to Baptists, as well as representatives from various NGOs, academia and sustainability initiatives. 
The keynote speech was delivered by Father Sean McDonagh SCC, a leading eco-theologian, author and strong advocate for action on climate change. 
Father McDonagh gave a compelling overview of the scale of the problem – extreme weather, food insecurity, rising sea levels and potential mass extinctions of species.
He spoke about how the ethical frameworks we currently have from our religious traditions focus on our relationships with other human beings and with God – and that these are not wide enough for us to start to address climate change. 
He called for action on climate change from the grassroots up – starting at parish and Diocesan levels. He also spoke hopefully about the Papal Encyclical on climate change and the environment which is due to be released in the summer and which will reach out to the more than one billion Catholics around the globe. 
It is thought that the Encyclical will explain climate change in plain language, and explain why we need to care about it and what we need to do collectively to bring about the changes we need to avert disaster and ensure sustainable life in the future. 
Before that event, a landmark summit is being held at the Vatican on 28 April entitled ‘Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity: The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development’.  The summit hopes to help build a global movement across all religions for action on climate change in 2015 and beyond, bringing together scientists, global faith leaders, UN officials and influential advocates.
climate conversations speakers sean mcdonagh, natasha harty, amy colgan and representatives from different faith groups
Top right: Father Sean McDonagh, Middle: Amy Colgan, Left: Natasha Harty. Bottom: representatives from different faith groups
At the Christchurch event on Monday, a contribution by video was made by Gunnela Hahn on behalf of the Church of Sweden, which counts two-thirds of the Swedish population (six million people) as members. She shared details of how the Church, which serves as an important model for other large institutions, has actively divested from the fossil fuel industry and adopted policies of responsible investment. 
The undisputed star if the evening was Amy Colgan, an inspiring 17-year-old student involved in both ECO-UNESCO initiative for young people and Trócaire’s Climate Change Challenge. Articulate and committed, Amy told the audience about her family motto that ‘doing something is better than doing nothing’ and how when she learned about climate change she felt she had to do something, no matter how small.
She spoke of her experience taking part in Trócaire’s three-day Climate Change Challenge in November 2014 with 30 other secondary students.
The students took part in a role-play simulation of a climate disaster in which they had to flee a country hit by devastating floods. “It was very much an eye-opener... the most horrifying moment was when we came back to reflect on it and I just had this moment of realisation where I went ‘that was a really interesting game, but somewhere at this very moment, somewhere else in the world it’s not a game. Someone, somewhere else is the world is going through what I went through a hundred-times worse and it’s not a game. They don’t get to say sorry this is too much for me right now, can I take a break...' And that was my hallelujah moment when I realised I had to take this a lot more seriously.”
participants in trocaire's climate change challenge november 2014
Participants in Trócaire's Climate Change Challenge, November 2014
The event concluded with prayers and comments from representatives of nine different faith groups including the Greek Orthodox Church, the Islamic Cultural Centre, the Methodist and Lutheran Churches, and the Triratna Buddhist Community. 
The Climate Conversations event come at a critical time. 2015 is a key year in the fight for climate justice. In December 2015, world leaders will meet at the UN Summit (COP21) in Paris, to agree a global agreement on climate change. In advance of that, Trócaire and partner NGOs are trying to raise the profile of this critical issue and mobilise people to demand action – starting at home with our own long-overdue Climate Bill
April 16, 2015

Keep the pressure on for a strong Climate Bill

The Dail is on the verge of passing an extremely weak Climate Change Bill that has no specific carbon reduction targets. But it’s not too late for you to intervene.

This is an absolutely critical time for climate change action in Ireland.

It is vital that we now put pressure on members of the Oireachtas Environment Committee to ensure we get a strong, effective climate bill.

Your lobbying to-date has been heard.

We’ve already seen TDs from across the Dail bringing attention to weaknesses in the bill.

On Tuesday 10th February, Trócaire, together with Stop Climate Chaos organised a hugely successful mass lobby event on Ireland's Climate Bill. This event was organised to pressure our politicians to pass a much stronger bill than currently exists. Watch the video from the mass lobby event to see that your lobbying does work.

(To see more impact, read our blog on the mass lobby event)

But so far the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly TD, has not listened to the concerns of his colleagues.

What can you do NOW?

As the bill goes to committee stage, we now need to be loud and clear in letting the Oireachtas Environment Committee know what’s at stake.

We need to ask the Oireachtas Environment Committee to support crucial amendments to the bill. Read the amendments here: http://tinyurl.com/k5emkar

Please tweet or email the committee members to send a clear message- demanding that they show leadership on this issue!


Suggested tweets:

Will you show leadership and strengthen #climatebill at Environ. Committee? Amendments here: http://tinyurl.com/k5emkar

Please use your voice on Environ. Committee to strengthen #climatebill. Amendments here: http://tinyurl.com/k5emkar


TD Contact details:

Helen McEntee TD: @Hmcentee or helen.mcentee@oireachtas.ie

James Bannon TD: @JamesBannonTD or james.bannon@oir.ie

Noel Coonan TD: @NoelCoonanTD or noel.coonan@oir.ie

Robert Dowds TD: @robert_dowdsTD or robert.dowds@oir.ie

Michael McCarthy TD: @mmccarthyTD or michael.mccarthy@oir.ie

Tony McLoughlin TD: @TonyMcLTD or tony.mcloughlin@oir.ie

Michelle Mulherin TD: @MulherinFG or michelle.mulherin@oir.ie

Fergus O'Dowd TD: @Fergusodowd or fergus.odowd@oir.ie

Barry Cowen TD: @CowenBarry or barry.cowen@oireachtas.ie

Catherine Murphy TD: @CathMurphyTD or catherine.murphy@oireachtas.ie

Brian Stanley TD: @BrianStanleyTD or brian.stanley@oir.ie

April 08, 2015

Join the conversation on climate change

Trócaire and Christian Aid are co-hosting ‘Prophetic Voices’, an inspiring evening of discussion on climate change on Monday, 20 April at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin. 
Responding to climate change requires a shift in values in society. But where can we go to find the spiritual and ethical motivation we need to face the challenges ahead?
This session will explore where we can find inspiration in modern Ireland and how can spirituality and faith help to rebuild a deeper connection and appreciation of nature.  
The event will feature inputs from a variety of faith groups and spiritual traditions, as well as representatives from the fossil fuel divestment movement and young people involved in Trócaire Climate Change Challenge project.
Set in Dublin’s Christchurch Cathedral, buoyed by both choir and soloists, this event is sure to touch both heart and mind.  
The Prophetic Voices event is free to attend. Simply reserve your place via Climate Conversations Eventbrite page.
This event is the fourth of a series of five ‘Climate Conversations’ organised by Trócaire, Christian Aid, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Environmental Pillar, The Climate Gathering and others which aims to bring people in Ireland together for a new understanding of climate change. 
Climate Conversations

Event details: 

  • Prophetic Voices - Climate Conversations 2015 session IV
  • Music Room, Christchurch Cathedral, Christchurch Place, Dublin 8
  • Monday 20 April, 7-8:30pm followed by refreshments and conversations until 9:30pm.
  • Register to attend event on Eventbrite 


Live streaming of event:

Further information:


March 27, 2015

A new generation of climate activists

By Jen Murphy, Development Education Coordinator 
Trócaire engages with school students of all ages through our Development Education programmes on global issues like poverty,  human rights, conflict and the environment. We find the interest and enthusiasm of these students incredibly inspiring – and often share what we’ve learned from them with our colleagues here at Trócaire HQ. 
In the last year in particular, we’ve been so impressed with the work of young people in understanding climate change and acting for climate justice (how climate change impacts on people). 
For example, an increasing number of schools are taking part in the Green Schools initiative in southern Ireland and Eco Schools in Northern Ireland to promote sustainable living through whole-school action to earn Green Flag recognition.
In November last year, Trócaire ran its first Climate Change Challenge weekend – in which a group of 16-18 year olds from across Ireland participated in a variety of activities including a natural disaster simulation to explore the causes and effects of climate change, learn how to mitigate against these and become advocates for change in their schools and wider communities. 
At a recent session in Abbey Community College in Boyle, my colleague, Lauren O’Kelly met students from the Second Year CSPE class who are taking part in the ‘One Good Idea’ Project run by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Trocaire's Lauren O'Kelly and students from Abbey Community College in Boyle Roscommon
One Good Idea participants Cian, James and Luke with Trócaire's Lauren O'Kelly
The project is aimed at raising students’ awareness and understanding of energy efficiency and climate change. It gives students an opportunity to come up with One Good Idea that will creatively inspire people around them to make lifestyle changes to save energy.
Two weeks ago, students from five local post primary schools gathered in Millstreet Parish Centre, Cork, for a Climate Change Seminar organised by Millstreet Community School and facilitated by representatives from Trócaire, Cork Environmental Forum and Global Action Plan.
Transition Year and 5th Years from Bishop McEgan College (Macroom), Coláiste Treasa (Kanturk), Boherbue Comprehensive School, Scoil Phobail Slaibh Luachra (Rathmore) and Millstreet Community School took part in this seminar and will facilitate peer-learning sessions on what they learned with the wider student population in their schools. 
Students at Millstreet Climate Seminar
Back row left to right – Heather O’Sullivan (Coláiste Treasa Kanturk), Gerard O’Hanlon (Millstreet Community School), Vincent Kiely (Boherbue Comprehensive School, holding ‘CJ’ bee – Climate Justice logo from Trócaire’s Lenten Campaign,) Tynan Kearns (Scoil Phobail Slaibh Luachra), Justin Coleman (Bishop McEgan College)
The day began with a speech given by Liam O’Donoghue, who is a Transition Year from Millstreet Community School. He reflected on how his awareness of climate change was ignited by taking part in the Climate Change Challenge Weekend in November. Since then he has been busy collecting signatures for a petition to urge the Irish government to strengthen the recently published Climate Action Bill.
As well as taking part in development education workshops, students from schools across Ireland are organising fundraising events to support Trócaire’s climate justice work. 
Schools raising funds for Trocaire's climate change work
Top left: St. Mary's High School in Midleton, Cork, learned about climate change and raised €1,833 from their 24 Hour Fast
Top middle: Elizabeth from Aquinas Grammar School in Belfast with her amazing Trócaire cake 
Top right: Chloe and Kelly, 6th years from Presentation School, Tipperary, making a poster for their Trócaire fundraising
Bottom: 300 pupils and all of the staff from Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane, Cork, walked 6 miles today carrying buckets of water to draw attention to the global water crisis and raise money for Trócaire
And some students, both primary and post primary, express their solidarity for those most affected by climate change through poetry. We’re now making our way through the fantastic entries for the Trócaire and Poetry Ireland 2015 competition on the theme of climate justice and will be announcing winners in May. So, watch this space!

March 16, 2015

Trócaire supporting relief efforts in Vanuatu

Trócaire is supporting relief efforts in Vanuatu in the aftermath of what is thought to have been the worst cyclone to ever hit the country.
Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 storm, made landfall on the most populated island of Efate, where more than 65,000 people live. The cyclone had wind speeds of up to 270 km/h.
Éamonn Meehan, Trócaire Executive Director, said:
“Early indications are that this is one of the worst storms to ever hit the region. Our partners are working in the affected areas and we are working with them to get aid to people who have lost their homes.
“This is yet another reminder of the constant threat of extreme weather facing people in the Pacific region. The Philippines recently experienced its worst ever storm and now it appears as though Vanuatu has suffered a similar fate. Climate change is leading to more intense storms in the region, putting millions of people at risk.”
When the cyclone hit, Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale was attending the Third World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, to highlight his nation’s vulnerability to natural disaster.
Also in attendance was Dejene Fikre, Trócaire’s regional humanitarian coordinator for East Africa. He said: 
“In recent years the Vanuatu community has been challenged by frequent disasters because of climate change. Here in Sendai there is a shared understanding that it is the first time the world has both the knowledge and the resource to end such vulnerability to disaster.”
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March 09, 2015

Annual Lent Lecture 2015

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, was the guest speaker of our annual Lenten Lecture held in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, on Thursday 5th March 2015.

His lecture was entitled 'Integral ecology and the horizon of hope: concern for the poor and for creation in the ministry of Pope Francis'

Download Cardinal Turkson's Lent Lecture 2015

Watch a recording of Cardinal Turkson's Lenten Lecture:

Cardinal Peter Turkson shares some thoughts on Trócaire’s work on climate justice and how care of the earth has a spiritual value for Christians:


Dr Lorna Gold, Head of Policy and Advocacy in Trócaire gave a reflection on ‘Integral Ecology’ in response to Cardinal Peter Turkson's Lecture.

Download Dr Lorna Gold's Reflection


February 16, 2015

Irish Climate Bill: You asked, they listened!

Climate Change Bill Lobby Event Buswells Hotel

Caption: clockwise from top left Paul Connaughton, Galway East TD, Fine Gael; Eoghan Murphy, Dublin South East TD,  Fine Gael; Mick Wallace, Wexford TD, Independent; and Mary Lou McDonald, Dublin Central TD, Sinn Fein, were among the many TDs who attended the Climate Bill lobbying session in Buswell's Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday 10 February. Photos: Alan Whelan/Trócaire.

On Tuesday 10th February, Trócaire, together with Stop Climate Chaos organised a hugely successful mass lobby event on Ireland's Climate Bill. This event was organised to pressure our politicians to pass a much stronger bill than currently exists.
Thanks to people from all over the country who contacted their politicians, over 90 TDs attended the event throughout the day, which was an amazing turnout. TDs from both the Government and opposition came thanks to the numerous emails, tweets and phone calls they received from constituents like you!
The debate in the Dail last week showed a cross-party awareness of the need to strengthen the bill;  TDs have voiced their concerns about  its weakness in its current form, repeating the need for emission targets, a fully independent advisory council, the need to define what 'low carbon' means and a stronger commitment to climate justice for developing countries.

What TDs have been saying about the Climate Bill

'I hope the Minister will approach the legislation in the proper spirit as we approach Committee Stage because if we look back to the report of the Oireachtas committee we see that most of what it recommended was not reflected in the legislation. One does not have to agree with everything a Committee says, but if one does not listen to it, that begs the question of why we have such committees and why they do the work they do. It is important as we amend the Bill on Committee Stage that we try to find a better balance between what the Oireachtas Committee recommended and what the Government wants, because that is the whole purpose of the system we have... 
There is no definition of low carbon in the Bill, which is incredible when one thinks about it. We have a definition of low carbon and the Bill is about low carbon so the Bill should contain a definition...
There is also no concept of climate justice in the Bill, which is remarkable, as one cannot talk about the subject without talking about climate justice. It is an important concept but it is a difficult thing to achieve. However, we will not get anywhere near achieving it if we are not even talking about it in primary legislation such as this.'
- Eoghan Murphy, Dublin South East TD, Fine Gael
'In the programme there was a commitment to "publish a Climate Change Bill which will provide certainty surrounding government policy and provide a clear pathway for emissions reductions", yet this Bill does not provide any certainty to me or to the people I met who visited this House to give an excellent briefing. They were from the 28 organisations that combined to form Stop Climate Chaos and were in Buswells Hotel last Tuesday. The Bill does not answer our concerns and it does not provide a clear pathway to the sectors that need to start making changes to how they plan and operate.'
- Tommy Broughan, Dublin North East TD, Independent
'Climate change is a serious threat to this island nation across a broad remit of areas from agriculture to infrastructure, including the threat of massive coastal erosion. The Bill does not confront the scale of that threat. The input from the exhaustive hearings of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Community and Local Government and its subsequent consensus recommendations have effectively been ignored by the Government, contrary to what the Minister has said.
...the failure to include specific 2050 targets will give rise to sectoral interests potentially hijacking the process and depriving the Bill of its long-term impact in shaping policy formation. In other words, as a result, the Bill is effectively toothless.'
- Barry Cowen, Laois-Offaly TD, Fianna Fail
'With the timelines as set out currently we will get a plan but it will be too long in the making. Another issue we must address is the view that this country is so small that it does not really matter what we do in the wider world. The United States of America and China make deals with each other and the belief is that if they are doing something then it will solve matters for the rest of us.
That is hardly a positive way to view this problem. We have to do our bit. I agree with the need for climate justice. As a developed country we must do more for those countries in much more dire situations.'
- Paul Connaughton, Galway East TD, Fine Gael
'...the UK, Scotland, France, Denmark, Sweden and Finland have one thing in common. They have adopted legislation which is much stronger than that with which we are presented. They also have targets set in domestic law. Unfortunately and critically, this legislation does not contain these targets. For legislation which has the support of politicians across the spectrum, it is amazing that narrow sectoral concerns seem to have had more impact in the framing of this legislation. I hope this can be changed on Committee Stage. It is an indictment of Parliament that, over the past ten years, we have failed to respond to one of the biggest challenges of our times.'
- Catherine Murphy, Kildare North TD, Independent
'The Bill is not adequate in terms of following on from the action plan on climate change which ended in 2012. It had specific targets based on the Kyoto Protocol. There is no excuse, particularly in light of the fact that the Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht, with which I and other Members are involved, had all-party support when setting out its proposals in a report in 2013.
The committee report refers to the concept of climate justice. We must recognise that there is not a level playing field. Trócaire and others have stressed the inequalities that exist on a global scale and the fact that people in developing countries suffer greatly from the impact of dramatic climate change. A women from the Philippines was here yesterday. It is a country made up of islands and we have seen television images of what those people have suffered as a result of climate change. One could not be left unmoved by what is happening to people in the Pacific Ocean, particularly those who live on small islands. We have an obligation to those people, as we are producing far more greenhouse gases per head of population than they are. Over recent decades we have seen the consequences of drought and disaster caused by extreme events in the Philippines and other countries. The impact of such events is greatly exacerbated by the fact that these underdeveloped countries do not have the infrastructure to cope with such disasters. Poorer-quality housing and physical infrastructure means that the consequences of hurricanes and typhoons, for example, are far greater than they are in developed countries. The emergency and relief services are not as well able to cope with those consequences and the impact on local people.
What we have been presented with instead is an expanded heads of a Bill which puts everything on the very long finger and commits this State to do little. There will possibly be penguins washed up in Dollymount before we have this process completed.'
- Brian Stanley, Laois-Offaly TD, Sinn Fein
'Our carbon reduction targets should be explicitly stated in time stages to enable us and the world to calculate whether we are moving in the right direction. Sometimes we can get legislation wrong, but the consequences in those cases are not too severe or they can be undone. However, if we get this wrong - the legislation or the enforcement - there will be no second chance.'
- Michael Colreavy, Sligo North TD, Sinn Fein
'I attended a briefing that was held by Stop Climate Chaos yesterday. I suggest the Minister would have attended it last year before he was put in the position he is in now, or even before he was elected. The organisers of the briefing, who have been very involved in some of the most serious examination of climate change for the future, are saying clearly that this Bill is very disappointing. A fourth class group of ten year olds from Griffeen Valley Educate Together national school who attended yesterday's event asked why no targets have been set in this legislation. They could not understand why no targets have been set. When people of that age are asking such questions, it shows they have significant concerns about their future. The Minister has an obligation to provide a specific reason. I do not think the explanation he provided in his introductory remarks was good enough. We should set targets for our greenhouse emissions.'
- Joan Collins, Dublin South Central TD, United Left
'Here we are discussing a Climate Bill that does not promise any plan until 2017 and no progress report until 2023, fails to set an emission reduction target for 2050, does not commit to a definition of "low-carbon economy", refuses to make the expert advisory council fully independent and fails to recognise the importance of the principle of climate justice.
In Ireland, we emit more greenhouse gases than the poorest 400 million people living on the planet put together. As noted by Stop Climate Chaos, Ireland is emitting 17 tonnes of greenhouse gases per person per year. This makes us the second worst polluter in the EU, where the average is 11 tonnes. We need to recognise that we are not innocent, that we have benefited at the expense of others and that it is time to do our part to redress the balance.'
- Mick Wallace, Wexford TD, Independent
'...the question must be asked as to why no explicit mitigation targets are contained in the Bill. The Department's position appears to be that setting targets within the Bill could at some stage interfere with the legally binding targets set by EU legislation. Perhaps the Minister will indicate why he believes this to be the case.
Given that this is the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, I am obliged to ask whether it would not be reasonable to include a definition within its provisions of what constitutes "low carbon"? The inclusion of such a definition could provide extra clarity and contextualisation to the provisions and aims of this legislation. A further concern, which has just been outlined by the previous speaker and which has been brought to my attention on numerous occasions, relates to why the Bill does not explicitly state that the expert advisory council will be fully independent.
A national and transition mitigation plan is required to be developed by the Minister "no later than 24 months after the passing of this Act". In light of the importance of taking action to tackle climate change, should the development of this plan not take place in a more appropriate timeframe? I raise this issue because there are EU targets which we are obliged to meet by 2020 but under this provision, the national mitigation plan may not actually be in place until 2017. I do not believe this provides the State with sufficient time in which to take action.'
- Alan Farrell, Dublin North TD, Fine Gael
'This Bill is really quite pathetically weak in dealing with the most serious of crises, the climate crisis, and all the dangers it poses nationally and globally.
As has been stated, Ireland has one of the highest per capita emissions rates in Europe. It is ranked fourth highest. The potential cost to Ireland of runaway climate change is more severe than for most countries in Europe. The Joint Research Centre's recent report on climate impacts in Europe details the enormous costs already incurred in Ireland owing to events such as flooding. Some €750 million has been paid out by insurers since 2000. This indicates, based on the current trajectory, that the costs, which are really quite astronomical right across Europe, are set to increase massively. The cost of addressing sea flooding in Britain and Ireland is predicted to increase from €996 million to €3 billion over the next few years. Already, the direct economic cost of the damage from flooding across Europe is €5 billion. It is expected to be €11 billion in future years. The report states Ireland and Britain will be the worst affected, obviously because they are islands on the west of Europe and have particular climatic conditions.'
- Richard Boyd Barrett,  Dun Laoghaire TD, People Before Profit Alliance


'I wish to be positively encouraging in bringing this Bill forward. I also wish to make it more robust. It is a little limp at present due to the lack of definitions, targets and in respect of climate justice. It ought to be strengthened and made more robust in those three areas. We should not be afraid. Otherwise, the Minister is introducing a limp Bill that does nothing.'

- Peter Matthews, Dublin South TD, Independent

February 03, 2015

Feeling the Heat: Poetry competition 2015 launch

by Trish Groves, Campaigns Officer
Trócaire and Poetry Ireland are proud to launch our fourth joint poetry competition. This year’s theme is ‘Feeling the Heat’.
Extreme weather events are having a devastating effect on people in the developing world: destroying families, homes and livelihoods. The people who contribute least to climate change are those most ‘feeling the heat’ from its effects. 
Trócaire’s Climate Justice campaign seeks to address this inequality and support those who are experiencing the effects of climate change now. 
Entries are invited from both published and emerging poets, in English and Irish, with special categories for younger entrants and a Spoken Word category for performance poetry. Poets can submit up to THREE poems each, and entry is free.
Curtear fáilte roimh iontrálacha le haghaidh an tríú comórtas bliantúil filíochta Trócaire Éigse Éireann ar an téama 'Feeling The Heat'.
trocaire poetry ireland competition winner 2014
2014's competition winners at the awards ceremony in the National Library of Ireland
Download an application form, or enter the competition directly on Poetry Ireland’s website.
The closing date is Friday 13 March, and winners will be notified by Friday 7 May 2015. Entries will be judged by poets Mary Shine ThompsonTheo Dorgan, and Trish Groves from Trócaire.
Prizes for adults include choices such as a stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, a year's subscription to Poetry Ireland Review, or professional feedback on your poetry through Poetry Ireland's Critical Assessment Service. Younger entrants can win a Kindle or book tokens, and a visit to your school by a writer.
The winning poems are also published in booklet form, and distributed to arts festivals and community events, and through schools and poetry readings. Winners and runners up are invited to read at our lunchtime awards ceremony at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, and many past winners have gone on to read at events around Ireland, including Culture Night, All Ireland Poetry Day and the Mountains to Sea Book Festival in Dun Laoghaire. 
Read the winning entries from 2013 and 2014:
This competition is a genuine opportunity for new and emerging poets to boost their profile and reach new audiences, while helping to raise awareness about climate justice.
Visit Trócaire’s Climate Justice web page for lots of practical suggestions and inspiration for your poetry competition entry.
Want to know more about the research behind the theme of ‘Feeling the Heat’? Read our report Feeling the Heat: How climate change is driving extreme weather in the developing world
For updates about the competition, please visit the Trócaire Facebook page or Poetry Ireland's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @trocaire and @PoetryIreland.
January 29, 2015

Make our weak Climate Bill stronger!

Trócaire has welcomed the publication of the long-awaited Climate Action Bill.
Unfortunately this Bill, as it currently stands, does little to address Ireland’s responsibilities towards lowering our carbon emissions and working towards climate justice.
Time is limited!  We only have a few short weeks before this Bill, named the ‘Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill’ becomes law which is why we need your urgent help.  We cannot let Ireland continue to shirk its responsibilities around climate change.  
We need you to tweet and meet your local TD.  They are the people who are ultimately responsible for strengthening this Bill.  
The next few weeks are critical to getting this Bill strengthened.  Watch our video to find out how you can help…


Meet your TD in Dublin on 10th February

Meet your TD at the Stop Climate Chaos lobby event in Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2, on 10th February 2015.  
Find out how to invite your TD to the event in Buswells Hotel by emailing or phoning Trócaire Campaign officer, Orla Quinn, at orla.quinn@trocaire.org or 01 5053229.  Orla will provide all the necessary information you need in advance of the meeting. Orla and other Stop Climate Chaos members will be at the lobby event to help and support you on the day. 
You can use this sample letter to to write a letter or email your TD’s and invite them to the lobby event in Buswells hotel.
If you can’t join us on February 10th, you can still lobby your TD in your local constituency, by organising a meeting with with your TD to discuss the issues. Email or phone Trócaire Campaign officer, Orla Quinn, at orla.quinn@trocaire.org or 01 5053229 for advice on organising and conducting this meeting.
You can also check out our Activist Toolkit for further guidance on lobbying your TD.

Tweet Minister Alan Kelly TD and your local TD

Another powerful way to influence Minister Alan Kelly and your local TD is through twitter. Find your local TD’s twitter handle at whoismytd.com
Here are four suggested tweets you can copy and paste.  Remember to put your TD's twitter handle in where it reads <your local TD>.
@alankellylabour Please ensure #climatebill includes definition of low carbon, independence of advisors, and principle of #climate justice.
@alankellylabour Please ensure #climatebill includes the recommendation for quick adoption of the first National Mitigation Plan.  
@<your local TD> Your voice is needed to strengthen the #climatebill. Key recommendations here: http://tinyurl.com/k5emkar
@<your local TD> Our #climatebill is too weak and needs these urgent amendments: http://tinyurl.com/k5emkar  Will you act?

What’s wrong with the Climate Action Bill?

1. It fails to set a numeric target for emission reduction for the future. This is a fundamental flaw, as it means there is little concrete direction for the coming years.  In place of a numeric target, an alternative option is to define what is meant by low carbon, which would at least provide some clarity.  This definition is also missing!
2.  The body tasked with giving advice to the Government on climate change matters is not independent, despite the advice from the Environment Committee that all members should be independent of State or stakeholder interests. Instead the Bill provides for a body of no more than 9 members, 4 of whom represent state bodies.
3.  It does not provide for the inclusion of climate justice. The Climate Action Bill is about mapping out a strong and sustainable future for Ireland. It is also about ensuring that Ireland lives up to its global responsibilities. As a nation that has benefited from our own development to date, we need to do our fair share. The Tánaiste declared to the UN General Assembly in 2011 that "there is a compelling case for 'climate justice' – bringing developmental fairness to bear on the climate change agenda". Provision for the principle of climate justice provides the opportunity to realise this. 
4.  Most worryingly, the Government’s recent decision to extend the one year deadline to produce a national mitigation plan to two years gets them ‘off the hook’. The last national climate change strategy expired in 2012 and now we are told that we may have to wait until 2017 for its replacement and before the next Government start to take climate action.  This is not good enough!  Nor does it bode well for Ireland’s commitment to take the necessary steps at the vital UN Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year.  
This is a critical moment to put Ireland on the path to a sustainable future.   Many of us have been campaigning for this moment since 2008.  We can’t let it end in disappointment.  

For campaigners in Northern Ireland, we will be in contact in March detailing how we can together help push climate change further up the political agenda at Stormont.


Drop in the Ocean? Ireland and Climate Change Trailer

On February 23, we will be releasing our documentary 'Drop in the Ocean? Ireland and Climate Change.' We've interviewed some of Ireland’s leading environmental scientists, writers and activists and asked them where Ireland fits in the global climate change picture. How is  climate change affecting Ireland and what impacts will it have if carbon emissions remain unchecked? How do we contribute to it? And what role can Ireland play if we are to become part of the solution?


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