Roscommon County Council declared a climate change and biodiversity emergency at Monday’s monthly meeting at Áras an Chontae. The motion was proposed by Cllr. Donal Kilduff, who had actively campaigned on the issue prior to his election in May. Cllr. Orla Leyden seconded the motion, having submitted a similar motion on behalf of the Fianna Fáil and Independent Alliance.
On Wednesday, Cllr. Kilduff said that he was happy that an issue he had raised prior to being elected had received the support of Roscommon County Council.
“I am happy that the Alliance supported the motion and that there was unanimous support in the Council for this. It demonstrates that the Council is serious about producing a plan. What’s important for me is that it is a credible plan that we can deliver on and that it has practical actions the Council can take. It can’t be all aspirational stuff that gets shelved,” he said.
Cllr. Kilduff added that while he hoped the plan would be ambitious, Roscommon County Council couldn’t act unilaterally and would need the cooperation of local environmental groups and campaigners.
“We can only work within the laws that are there and we can’t impact negatively on businesses operating in Roscommon over businesses in Westmeath for example. We can take action however and try to take a lead on this issue,” he said.
Cllr. Kilduff said that while there are people who don’t believe in climate change, there was still a need to take responsibility for the planet’s finite resources and fossil fuels.
In response to Cllr. Michael Mulligan’s claims at Monday’s meeting that the climate issue was down to big countries like Russia and the United States, Cllr. Kilduff replied: “We need to be able to look the children of the county in the eye twenty years from now (and show them that we took action)”.
Cllr. Orla Leyden said that an emergency action plan was needed to “limit the man-made causes of climate change”.
She said: “Climate action is no longer a choice, it is a necessity and collective action is required with leadership from Government both national and local.
“If we do not change our ways we will be the cause of more and more species becoming extinct, including ourselves. We, our communities and our children and children’s children have a right to exist and a right to a healthy clean environment.
“I made the point at our meeting that it is our duty as elected members of Roscommon County Council to act in unison and declare a climate change and biodiversity emergency in County Roscommon and set about devising a constructive climate change and biodiversity emergency action plan”.
A sub-committee is expected to be set up in October and local environmental groups are expected to be approached to have an input into the county’s climate change and biodiversity plan.