“Climate change is the single biggest threat to our environment, our living standards and our existence. The Social Democrats recognise this threat as a fundamental issue facing our country and our planet.”
The Social Democrats today [3rd May] publish the party’s Climate and Environment Manifesto for local government which puts councils at the heart of delivering new energy solutions and driving long-term planning for sustainable communities.
The launch takes place in Limerick, alongside the local election campaign for the party’s candidates for Limerick City and County Council.
The event in Ormstown House cultural resource centre in the heart of Limerick city will be attended by local environmental groups Limerick Against Pollution and Fridays for Future Limerick.
The Social Democrats are fielding four candidates in Limerick City and County in the first local elections the party has contested since it was set up in 2015. They are:
- Limerick City East, Sarah Jane Hennelly
- Limerick City West, Elisa O’Donovan
- Limerick City North, Kieran Walsh
- Cappamore Kilmallock, Trevor McCarthy
The manifesto, Cleaner, Greener Communities, sets out the party’s priorities for how city and county councils can play their part in national and global efforts to arrest climate change and protect our environment.
The actions include:
- Increase civic recycling amenities and boost the number of households and businesses with separate bins for recycling and composting.
- Double funding for anti-dumping measures and increase fines for illegal dumping.
- A new regulator for bin collections and the roll out of segregated public waste bins.
- Pilot local energy-saving programmes such as group switching schemes and promote retrofitting of existing council houses
- Cut the carbon footprint of all councils, from transport planning and street lighting to tree planting and recycling
- Create zoned ‘Green Communities’ where councils promote biodiversity.
- Boost investment in public transport and cycling under the National Development Plan, and reduce spending on roads.
- Pilot low or no fare public transport schemes while ensuring sufficient capacity for commuters.
- A levy on plastics that cannot be recycled, and the immediate banning of micro-plastics.
- Build networks of safe segregated cycle lanes and heavily promote cycling.
- Promote active travel to schools, including designated drop-off points in urban areas within 1km radius of schools.
- Ensure Local Area Plans provide for the delivery of public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure and community facilities, in tandem with new homes being built.
Catherine Murphy TD said:
“Climate change is the single biggest threat to our environment, our living standards and our existence. The Social Democrats recognise this threat as a fundamental issue facing our country and our planet. Our local authorities have to play their part in tackling it and preparing for its consequences. We won’t be found wanting. Our clear goal is to make each local authority a climate-focused council.”
Róisín Shortall TD added:
“We are delighted to support our four great candidates in Limerick who are focused on driving an ambitious agenda to create a more liveable city and county. We need their bold vision, courage and dynamism for a new approach and fresh ideas to address the challenges Limerick faces and to improve the environment and the quality of life for all people.”
Sarah Jane Hennelly, running in Limerick City East said:
“If you want change, vote for it. It’s well past time we had fresh faces in Limerick Council representing a new generation of voters. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have quite rightly been criticised for their indifference to the environment during this campaign. We are showing today that, along with tackling the crisis in University Hospital Limerick and desperate lack of housing, the Social Democrats will take real steps to improve the environment for the people of Limerick.”
Elisa O’Donovan, running in Limerick City West, said:
“Limerick is a fantastic city with great people and natural resources. With joined up thinking we can make our city more liveable when it comes to public transport and community amenities. We are deeply concerned about our local environment and are committed to continuing our work with Limerick Against Pollution to find workable solutions to concerns that people have.”
Kieran Walsh, running for Limerick City North said:
“I have already proposed that the newly elected council will commit to stopping single use plastics in all local authority buildings and activities. Limerick Council needs to lead by example and show it is serious about tackling environmental issues, something deeply important to the Social Democrats.”
Trevor McCarthy, running for Cappamore Kilmallock said:
“Rural Limerick has terrific potential, but decades of neglect and underinvestment have stopped us from achieving that potential. This includes the plight of illegal dumping that is destroying our beautiful countryside. We need to see much firmer action to prevent it and real penalties for those responsible. The people of County Limerick are tired of being ignored.”
Greener, Cleaner Communities: The Social Democrats Climate and Environment Manifesto for Local Government is available here.