Green Party Convention March 24/26th 2017

This year's Convention in Waterford will be held on March 24th - 26th in The Tower Hotel. We are very excited to be back in Waterford again, and the Waterford Greens are doing a tremendous job in organising a fantastic line up of events, debate, speakers and entertainment.

You can register here.

I am delighted to announce that our keynote speaker this year will be Peter Willcox, whom many of you will know as the former captain of Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior serving alongside our very own Senator Grace O'Sullivan. He will be interviewed in the main convention room on Friday night (24th).

In addition to the regular debates on motions, we have confirmed side & breakout events including a seminar on mindfulness and mental health, a panel discussion on the media, politics and the challenge of 'alternative fact' politics, a facilitated discussion on achieving a Just Transition, meetings for Young Greens, Mná Glasa and New Members and much more to be confirmed.

Added to this we are delighted to announce the return of exhibition stands - featuring a range of local and national sustainably-focused businesses who will be there to inform and educate about their products.

Our friends in Waterford are also working on outdoor pursuits for Members - in particular it is hoped to have an organised cycle of the newly opened Deise Greenway on Sunday 26th. If you can't bring your bike to Waterford, we hope to arrange rental from a local supplier - so please indicate on our registration page here if you would like to rent a bike.

Most importantly - Members will have ample time to meet, catch up and share a drink. We have arranged for live entertainment in the Tower Hotel bar on Saturday night.

Hope to see you there.

Campaign to protect Ticknock Forest Park

Ticknock Forest Park, which attracts 150,000 visitors each year, was due to be cut down.

Today we welcomed Coillte’s announcement that they would halt planned clear felling of 20 acres of trees in Ticknock Forest Park, but have called for Coillte to convert their 2,500 acres of forestry in the Dublin Mountains into a National Park.

We welcome the fact that Coillte has put a stay on the clear felling of the Ticknock Forest. The trees are worth far more as a part of a forest park as a recreational facility rather than being chopped down for lumber.

We now want to see this approach extended to all 2,500 acres of Coillte managed forests in the Dublin Mountains. They can be managed as a new National Park, by switching to a 'continuous cover' rather than 'clear felling' form of forestry.

Under this approach you take out individual groups of trees to create small clearings within the existing cover. This allows older and more valuable trees grow alongside smaller saplings. It is better for sustainability, better for biodiversity, more profitable for Coillte in the long run, better for tourism and better for the people of Dublin city.

Over 160,000 people visit the Ticknock Forest Park each year. Rather than chopping down the forest we need to protect these recreational spaces and Green lungs for our city. We’re glad Coillte have taken this first step in the right direction.

 

Traffic Congestion at Merrion Gates

Following a study carried out by the National Transport Authority (NTA), a number of alterations have been suggested to the original plans aimed at addressing the issue of traffic congestion and safety in the bottleneck.

While the NTA had proposed a cycle way, previous plans were a potential danger to ecological habitats along the coast and were considered to be in breach of EU environmental law. The new proposals now appear to be in line with EU law as the proposed cycle way uses part the land that has already been built upon alleviating environmental concerns.

The current junction between the Merrion Road and Strand Road is currently a safety concern for cyclists and pedestrians. The overpass proposed is hoped to tackle this issue, with an integral part of the plan being clear lanes for cyclists, pedestrians, cars, with DART traffic being over-passed and detoured.

Submissions to the NTA have now closed, but you can view the full Public Consultation document published by the NTA here.

Poolbeg West SDZ Drop-in Session

As part of the draft planning scheme for the Poolbeg west area, Dublin City Council will be holding a number public information drop-in sessions during the consultation period. I encourage all members of the public and interested groups to attend the sessions, full dates and information can be found here.

The public have also been asked to submit their views and observations around the draft planning scheme. The deadline for submissions for the Poolbeg West has passed.

We have outlined in our submission how the Poolbeg Peninsula development should offer free energy for new residents. Check out our full submission here.  

Urban Wastewater action taken against Ireland

The European Commission has indicated that it will take action against Ireland in relation to urban wastewater. While the Green Party is concerned by the threat of fines being levied against Ireland, the Party believes that the decision will spur the Government to rectify failures and to meet obligations outlined in the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

Ireland's failure to invest in wastewater treatment is harming the environment, fundementally undermies the quality of life people in the effected areas and damages Ireland's international reputation.

Ibrahaim Halawa's trail delayed for a 19th time

Last week the trial of Ibrahaim Halawa was delayed once again; this is the 19th time the trial has been postponed. It has now been over three years since his intial incarceration following his participation in a demonstration. No evidence has ever been brought to bear against him since his arrest at the age of 17 years old.

Today in the Oireachtas I made an application for a topical debate on the issue which was unfortunately not accepted. We will continue to higlight this issue in the chamber, in the media and to do everything in our power to ensure that this trial begins and ends as soon as possible.

 

 

 

#NotInMyName

President Trump issued an executive order on 27th January, keeping refugees from entering the US for 120 days as well as barring immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries for three months. Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia are all affected. 

The pre-clearance system operated in Dublin and Shannon airports could be centre stage in the ongoing arguments concerning Trump's orders given potential conflict with Ireland's international legal obligations, our commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 18 TFEU as well as our own Constitutional commitments.  

We will not stand idly by while the founding principles of democracy, human rights and law are being trampled on before our eyes. We will resist all of President Trump's executive orders when and where we can.

We are calling on Enda Kenny to put off his visit to the Whitehouse, we cannot allow our Government to present the symbolic bowl of Shamrocks to a man who is persecuting people due to their nationality, a man who gags climate scientists and bullies the Mexican Government.

Join me tomorrow at the US Embassy tomorrow, Friday 2nd of February at 5pm.

Check out: https://lovindublin.com/dublin/there-will-be-an-anti-trump-ban-outside-the-us-embassy-in-dublin-on-thursday

Fossil free Ireland

Ireland has taken a major step in the right direction in the fight against climate change. The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill 2016 which starts the process of divesting millions from fossil fuel companies was passed today in the Dáil. 

This Bill shows a real chance that Ireland can make a significant change to the way we invest in public money. It strengthens Ireland's stance on climate change, and it shows that Ireland does not stand for the future which Donald Trump, nor his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, stands for.

 

Ibrahim Halawa

I was a member of the recent Dáil delegation to visit Ibrahim Halawa in Cairo. The trial has been delayed for the 18th time. This marks almost 3 and a half years since Ibrahim has been imprisoned.

I spoke of my support for Ibrahim and belief of his innocence on Newstalk FM, which you can listen to here.

I am in ongoing contact with his family, meeting regularly with all other parties on the issue and hope to see an end to the campaign marked by Ibrahim's release as soon as possible. 

Graving Docks

The threat of demolition to the Graving docks in the Grand Canal Basin from Inland Waterways Ireland is imminent. Their eradication is seen as a way of raising revenues to pay for other operations.

These docks are a very special place and arguably the most important point in the inland waterways system. Selling the land would be a fundamental mistake, the location itself is extremely sensitive. I understand that there is a huge amount of development needed for the docklands, however we must maintain key open places to preserve a heritage which provides local environment everyone can use. 

I have addressed this issue with Minister Heather Humphreys, who has stated the future of the Graving docks remains in the hands of the planning authority, Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála. 

It is apparent from the Minister that the site will be sold, as it seems that Waterways Ireland wants to spend money on other parts of the network, demolishing a location of historical importance of the Georgian network in the centre of Dublin. 

Do we have a Government that stands up for the preservation of our heritage; heritage that would be of great economic benefit to the city?

The selling of a 220 year old dock screams that the answer is no.