Economic SPC report March 27th 2017

It was flagged to me early on in my days of representing the environment on council committees to make sure that a record is kept of my input. My addition to that is especially if it identifies somewhere the precautionary principle or precautionary measures should be adopted. This played out very obviously following my last SPC meeting in January when my query to the IDA on flooding was omitted from the minutes. I realised that when reading the minutes ahead of the March meeting. My report and questions from the last meeting are here. I raised the issue before I left home for the March 27th meeting, sent on my records as per my blog and requested that the minutes be amended.

So to the meeting and first up was an addendum to incorporate my points from the previous meeting into the minutes. A synopsis of my questions was proposed and I had to negotiate on the wording to have the word flooding included as the term climate change had been proposed. I was adamant about that as flooding is specific and bringing industry to the banks of the river Shannon requires precautionary measures. It would have been remiss of me not to ask the question. The reality now though is that my questions will be noted as an addendum to the minutes – so appear in the minutes of this meeting instead of the one when the IDA were presenting. This is what will appear when they are adopted in May:

Matters Arising 

Ms. Theresa O’Donohoe requested an addendum to minutes of meeting held on the 9th January, 2017.  T. O’Donohoe raised issues regarding flooding, climate change, energy security and skills strategies on the Shannon.  N O’Callaghan responded to the items raised. 

Here are the adopted minutes of the meeting on January 9th. Keep an eye out for the contradictory statements about the SPC structure. We were told they had just been been reviewed yet when I asked for a consultative review I was referred to national guidelines governing reviews. In other words “no – but we’ll do it to suit ourselves”

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You will be delighted to know that we all had our names  displayed on the table as per the councillors closing request at the last meeting  having been totally disgusted by my being addressed as councillor by the IDA rep.

Moving on to the meeting proper. We had a presentation from Failte Ireland outlining their plans to bring people off the Wild Atlantic Way by encouraging them to visit sites of historical interest and accommodation hubs inland. They are preparing maps and brochures to complement strategically planned routes. The one we were discussing is hoped to incorporate Ennis and Limerick on the “Shannon Estuary Drive”

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I love when I don’t have to be the voice for the environment at meetings! As I’ve mentioned before there is one councillor who brings in climate change so I was delighted when a new member raised the fact that this was being marketed as a “drive”. Two others who are highlighting environmental issues is brilliant. He was told the route is not specifically a drive – it’s just the label that’s being used for now. However when you know the roads in question you know you’re taking your life in your hands cycling or walking on it. Unsafe routes can’t be marketed as cycles or walks as that would be irresponsible and probably subject to legal action when someone gets hurt or worse. 

Also on the agenda was the Holy Island development and consultation. Again the new guy knew his stuff and asked how this would impact the application for Ecounesco status currently being sought for the island. I was delighted to hear that the report commissioned by Clare county council contained a visitor impact threshold. The first I’ve heard of. How it can be monitored is the next question I will explore further in time. If anyone knows please get in touch and enlighten me. 

We also received a report of the work of the SPC during its lifetime:

Followed by a few proposals as to what we should concentrate on for the duration of the SPC, i.e. the council. Tourism was the consensus. I’m sure other topics will come up too. 

Someone asked if our SPC had any input to the rural development strategy being devised at the moment. Something I’ve been wondering since I first heard about it. Apparently we have because some members are involved. Very strategic 😏

That’s it until May 8th. 

Theresa O’Donohoe 

March 28th 2017

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