John Gormley establishes Limerick Local Government Committee

“The need to put in place more effective local government arrangements for the Limerick area has been widely accepted for some time,” said Mr John Gormley T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, today (18 February 2010).  “The Limerick Local Government Committee, which I am establishing under the chairmanship of Mr Denis Brosnan, is being tasked today to advise me on the most appropriate solution”.

The Committee, established under local government legislation, has been asked to prepare a report into the most appropriate arrangements for local government for the city and county of Limerick. It will examine various options, including boundary changes, the creation of a unified city and county authority, and alternative arrangements to share and/or coordinate functions, administration and leadership between the city and county authorities. Continue reading “John Gormley establishes Limerick Local Government Committee”

Greens launch allotment and community garden plan in Bloom’s ‘Obama Garden’

Food Minister Trevor Sargent boosts farmers’ markets and is determined to get more people growing

  • Allotments officer for local authorities
  • Development plans to include growing ground
  • Easier access to farmers’ markets

Food Minister Trevor Sargent today said he was determined to encourage more Irish people to grow their own food. At the same time Minister Sargent also launched a plan to boost confidence in Farmers’ Markets. Minister Sargent, was speaking as he launched two key initiatives today [Friday May 29] at the new Obama Garden, – a model of Michelle Obama’s White House organic garden – in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Minister Sargent said: “The phenomenal demand for allotments and the unprecedented sales of vegetable seeds indicate that there is effectively a food revolution taking place in the country. The spin-off benefits include healthier communities and greater resilience in the face of the recession and shortage of oil and food internationally. “I have been working closely with Green Party Leader and Environment Minister John Gormley to increase the numbers of people growing food at home and on allotments. Moves include an allotment officer for local authorities, targeted development plans to provide land for growing food in the community, easier access and guidelines for farmers’ markets and books and guides on how to grow your own food.” Continue reading “Greens launch allotment and community garden plan in Bloom’s ‘Obama Garden’”

Waste funding increase for the county

Local election candidate, Trish Forde-Brennan, is calling for Limerick County Council not to take waste management off the agenda when it is being squeezed by budgetary cutbacks. The last thing we need is to fall back on our targets having made such effort to promote the principle of reduce, reuse and recycle. As a green I see the real benefits of recycling in terms of a cleaner landscape but I equally recognise its potential for job creation. That is why I welcome the news that Minister John Gormley is making €259,850 available to Limerick County Council to assist in meeting the operating costs of bring banks and civic amenity facilities. Continue reading “Waste funding increase for the county”

Green candidate campaigns for safe routes to school

We need cycle lanes, safe footpaths and pedestrian crossings

Local Green Party candidate Trish Forde-Brennan is campaigning for safer routes to school. The initiative is part of a national campaign by the Green Party to help children get to school in the safest and healthiest way possible.

Trish said: “Every day, hundreds of children in Castletroy and all the villages and towns in County Limerick are driven to school by their parents, because it’s not safe for them to walk or cycle to school. I aim to change that, and if elected as the Green representative for the CastIeconnell area I will ensure that our footpaths, pedestrian crossings and cycle lanes are upgraded and made safe, so that parents are happy to let their children walk or cycle to school every day.” Continue reading “Green candidate campaigns for safe routes to school”

Green Party Leader clamps down on rogue builders

Developers who leave housing estates unfinished to be targeted

Green Party candidate, Trish Forde-Brennan, has welcomed moves by Environment Minister and Green Party Leader John Gormley to clamp down on rogue builders who leave housing estates and apartment blocks unfinished. For the first time, Councils will be able to share information on bad builders and apply it to planning decisions, ensuring that those with a history of unfinished projects will be unable to get planning permission for their next project.

Green candidate, Ms. Forde-Brennan, who is running for election in the Castleconnell electoral area, said: “The issue of unfinished estates, with poor roads, neglected green areas and lack of lighting has been coming up on the doors again and again. Many of the housing estates built during the boom were never properly finished, leaving those who paid high prices for their houses to put up with neglected and in some cases, dangerous roads, footpaths and green areas.”

The clampdown initiated by Minister Gormley will result in a national system to share information between Councils, who can track a developer or builder’s previous record. Currently, local authorities cannot take a developer’s track record into account when considering planning permission, allowing rogue developers to re-offend.

“These welcome moves will encourage developers to finish off roads and footpaths and to finish garden landscaping, if they want to get permission for their next project,” concluded Trish . “I would welcome feedback from the public as to what they think in relation such an information sharing system. I say, “let’s get this moving by taking photographs and details of housing developments left unfinished. Please do send them to me so that we have this valuable information ready to use when the Planning bill 2009 kicks in.”

The new planning laws will come into effect under the Planning bill 2009, which is currently being finalised by Minster Gormley.

Trish Forde-Brennan urges council authorities to be strict on illegal posters

Candidates that erect early should be fined, say Greens

The Green Party’s candidate for Limerick County Council , Trish Forde-Brennan, today urged the council authorities to be vigilant about candidates that illegally put up their election posters early.

The Environment Minister John Gormley this week [28 April 2009] issued a reminder to all candidates participating in the upcoming local and European elections that posters may not be erected any earlier than 6th May, which is 30 days before the polling date of June 5th. His department has also written to local authorities and political parties reminding them of their responsibilities.

“It is within Limerick County Council’s authority to issue on-the-spot litter fines to any candidate in breach of the time limits, either before or after the election, and I would urge them to do so if they find any posters up before the 6th. Candidates should not be rewarded for breaking the law, so I am calling on all candidates to respect this regulation and to publicly declare that they will not break the law and put their posters up early. If candidates will not make this commitment, can the public really trust them to keep their promises if they are elected?”

“Litter is a problem in the community and so is visual pollution. Election candidates are permitted to put up posters for a 30 day period before polling day in order to inform the public about the candidates standing for office. Those who abuse this right should be dealt with firmly.”

“Candidates and their election teams should also be mindful not to erect posters in locations that might impact on the line of sight of road users. No election campaign is worth causing danger to our families and children on the roads ” Trish added.

While posters advertising public meetings are permitted, any members of the public that see election posters up early should contact Limerick County Council on 061 496000 or info@limerickcoco.ie

Limerick lags behind in the allotment stakes

Green Party candidate for the Castleconnell electoral area, Trish Forde-Brennan, is calling on Limerick County Council to catch up when it comes to the provision of allotment sites and supporting people to grow their own food.

“Right around the country from Galway, Cork, Waterford there are Grow-it-Yourself groups forming as more people want to eat locally-produced food and to have a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps we are rediscovering our agricultural roots but there is a real desire to work with the soil and produce our own food. Even Michelle Obama and her daughters are growing their own vegatables in the White House” she said. The grow it yourself movement is backed up with a 66% increase in sales of herbs, fruit and vegetable plants since 2002. For the first time in decades sales of fruit and vegetable plants are ahead of flowers . According to Bord Bia, sales of herb fruit and vegetable planta has increased from 9 million to 15 million euros.

“That is incredible.” said Ms Forde-Brennan . “With food prices increasing there is money to be saved by growing your own food. It is particularly frustrating that neither Limerick County or City Council provide Allotments or Community Gardens.” said Ms Forde-Brennan.” In local authorities such as Dublin South County Council and Fingal they have waiting lists even though they have increased the number of allotment sites being made available. Now, Kilkenny County Council and Cork City Council are making provision for sites, but Limerick is left behind again”

“I recently spoke to officials from both the County Council and the NRA and they have now committed to researching possible allotment provision. This will take to the end of Spring 2010. Such is the demand that I believe there is a market for both local authority and privately-owned allotments so long as they are leased at reasonable prices. With people having more time on their hands through unemployment, retirement and wanting a quality of life, growing one’s own food is very attractive.”

Ms Forde-Brennan hosted a meeting this week at the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel , where people from Castletroy to Raheen came together to voice support for allotment provision and to look for more information. Speakers at the meeting included Ms Forde-Brennan, Colin Fitzpatrick from the UL Farmers Market, Trish Shine, Mary Lyons from Teagasc and Valerie O’Connor from Vals Kitchen Blog. It was agreed to form a network and identify possible site locations and site providers. “It is clear that there is broad interest in this campaign and it appeals to all ages. What else could introduce new friends, save money, provide exercise, and help generate income?” said Ms Forde-Brennan.

Forde-Brennan welcomes Gormley’s decision to scrap e-voting machines

Getting rid of failed voting devices only sensible course of action

Trish Forde-Brennan, the Green Party’s representative in the Castleconnell ward has welcome the announcement that Environment Minister John Gormley is to scrap the e-voting machines, that have so far cost the country €51m.

Trish, who is running for election to Limerick County Council said: “The last government made a substantial investment of taxpayers’ money in purchasing the machines and subsequently storing them, since the Greens entered government John Gormley has worked to find the best outcome for taxpayers.

“He reduced storage costs from €706,000 in 2006 to €204,000 last year, while at the same as investigating whether it was possible to get the machines working.

“In principle, the idea of e-voting is a good one, but voting is such an important activity that it must be totally above board and free from manipulation or error. There was no way these e-voting machines could guarantee that without further substantial investment, so the only option is to dispose of the machines.

“This is ‘a legacy issue’ based on decisions taken mainly by the 1997-2002 FF-PD government, but the opposition were also enthusiastic backers of electronic voting – with Fine Gael’s John Bruton and Labour’s Ruairi Quinn very vocal in their support.

“A taskforce will now be established to work out how the storage arrangements can be terminated and the machines disposed while returning to the taxpayers as much money as possible, The Environment Minister has taken decision action on this – in the interests both of the taxpayer and the democratic system,” Trish concluded.

Thousands of Green jobs to be created by ESB

Local Green Party candidate for the Castleconnell ward, Trish Forde-Brennan, has welcomed today’s announcement by ESB that up to 6,000 jobs and training opportunities are to be created through green projects and initiatives. The ESB confirmed that 3,700 jobs will be created in the areas of wind energy, smart networks and smart metering, electric vehicles, construction and energy servicing.

Trish said: “Going Green saves money and creates jobs. Today’s announcement is proof of this. As an island nation we can use our vast wind and wave resources to power and homes and our cars. In order to do this, we need to install and upgrade our electricity network in a smart way – and this is where many of the jobs announced by the ESB will come from.

“The Green Party in Government has taken Irish energy in a new direction. Our initiatives such as smart meters, smart networks, electric cars, renewable energy, green technology and home insulation are bearing fruit. Now we must look at how these jobs can be created and sustained at a local level.”

Specific projects resulting in the creation of new jobs include:

  • The roll-out of Smart Metering and the implementation of ESB’s Smart Networks Strategy which will lead to 1,500 jobs by 2013.
  • Novus Modus (ESB’s new energy technology fund) has committed to a five year programme of investment in clean energy and energy efficiency (350 jobs). The fund has just invested €2.5 million in the Cork-based company, Nualight, which is creating up to 60 additional jobs locally.
  • Electric vehicles (600 jobs) including the roll-out of the infrastructure to allow electric vehicles to be recharged.

Working with Sustainable Energy Ireland, ESB will offer free home-energy efficiency surveys to 25,000 householders and subsequent support to allow them implement necessary measures.

In order to alleviate the current severe shortage of electrical engineers, ESB will finance 50 apprentices each year for the next four years to allow them to achieve a third level engineering degree.

In addition, ESB will sustain a further 1300 jobs outside the company through ongoing investment programmes in the company’s power generation and networks infrastructure. The company will recruit 250 engineers and 50 other professionals and train 800 apprentices over the next five years, including 400 FAS apprentices who recently lost their jobs and will now be able to complete their craft training, paid for by ESB.
Trish concluded: “There’s no denying that times are tough, but with proper planning and investment, we can help kickstart the economy, get people off our doles queues and sustain our energy future, while helping the environment too.’

Energy Minister in Cork to launch Dan Boyle’s Euro Campaign

Green Party Energy Minister Eamon Ryan is in Cork 17 April 2009 to launch Dan Boyle’s campaign for the European elections. Minister Ryan will visit various locations in Cork City to learn about renewable energy and energy saving projects with the Green Party’s chairman and finance spokesperson. The visit concludes with a photocall at Shandon Bridge with Senator Boyle’s electric-powered campaign bus, and a press conference with Minister Ryan and Senator Boyle in the Firkin Crane Centre