Citizens’ Assembly Strongly Favours More Sustainable, Less Wasteful Ireland

The Citizens’ assembly has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the state taking a more active role in tackling climate change and facilitating a more sustainable country.

The Assembly met and deliberated on ‘How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling Climate Change’. With the benefit of expert, impartial and factual advice, the 75 eligible citizen members voted on 13 specific questions.

The Assembly made the following recommendations:

1.  98% of members recommended that, to ensure climate change is at the centre of policy-making in Ireland, as a matter of urgency a new or existing independent body should be resourced appropriately, operate in an open and transparent manner, and be given a broad range of new functions and powers in legislation to urgently address climate change.

2. 100% recommended that the State should take a leadership role in addressing climate change through mitigation measures, including, for example, retrofitting public buildings, having low carbon public vehicles, renewable generation on public buildings and through adaptation measures including, for example, increasing the resilience of public land and infrastructure.

3. 80% said they would be willing to pay higher taxes on carbon intensive activities.

Citizens assembly climate change sustainable ireland

Storm Ophelia highlighted coastal vulnerabilities to climate change

4. 96% recommended that the State should undertake a comprehensive assessment of the vulnerability of all critical infrastructure (including energy, transport, built environment, water and communications) with a view to building resilience to ongoing climate change and extreme weather events.

5. 99% recommended that the State should enable, through legislation, the selling back into the grid of electricity from micro-generation by private citizens at a price which is at least equivalent to the wholesale price.

Citizens assembly climate change sustainable ireland

Wind power could form a large part of future energy production

6. 100% recommended that the State should act to ensure the greatest possible levels of community ownership in all future renewable energy projects by encouraging communities to develop their own projects and by requiring that developer-led projects make share offers to communities to encourage greater local involvement and ownership.

7. 97% recommended that the State should end all subsidies for peat extraction and instead spend that money on peat bog restoration and making proper provision for the protection of the rights of the workers impacted with the majority 61% recommending that the State should end all subsidies on a phased basis over five years.

8. 93% recommended that the number of bus lanes, cycling lanes and park and ride facilities should be greatly increased in the next five years, and much greater priority should be given to these modes over private car use.

9. 96%recommended that the State should immediately take many steps to support the transition to electric vehicles.

10. 92% recommended that the State should prioritise the expansion of public transport spending over new road infrastructure spending at a ratio of no less than two-to-one to facilitate the broader availability and uptake of public transport options with attention to rural areas.

11. 89% recommended that there should be a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. There should be rewards for the farmer for land management that sequesters carbon. Any resulting revenue should be reinvested to support climate friendly agricultural practices.

12. 93% recommended the State should introduce a standard form of mandatory measurement and reporting of food waste at every level of the food distribution and supply chain, with the objective of reducing food waste in the future.

13. 99% recommended that the State should review and revise supports for land use diversification with attention to supports for planting forests and encouraging organic farming.

The Assembly’s conclusions will form the basis of a number of reports and recommendations that will be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas for further debate by our elected representatives.

About the Author

Daniel Farrell
Interested in all things on the Irish coast and sharing the best of it. // Email: // Follow on Twitter: @DanielsSeaViews