Senator Grace O’Sullivan to open climate action event for South East

Creating a Local Sustainable Future – Practical actions for your community

National and local networks have come together to host a solution-based approach to creating a sustainable future within both rural and urban communities.

Kilkenny is set to hold an interactive cross-county event to explore how local communities can create a sustainable future against the backdrop of the growing impacts of climate change.

This free event, organised by the Public Participation Networks of counties Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford, Tipperary and Waterford and the Irish Environmental Network, will take place at the Ormonde Hotel on Saturday 23rd February. Senator Grace O’Sullivan will deliver the keynote address at the event that comes in response to growing demand for local solutions to the impending threat of climate change.

The event will concentrate on actions that can be replicated in any local area, whether at home or in the community, and aims to deliver action-focused outcomes for all participants.

Each workshop is delivered by an expert in their field, with the overall event facilitated by Davie Phillip of Cultivate, a Tipperary-based environmental NGO based in the Cloughjordan eco-village.

The event will focus on four key themes, including how to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to expand the conversation of climate action through community initiatives. 

The other key themes are how to develop local responses to climate action in water catchment areas, and developing actions for biodiversity protection across a range of habitats found across the five counties.

During the day there will be four breakout sessions, each focusing on an important issue that we face today, including biodiversity loss, with wildlife populations down 60 per cent in the last 40 years. 

Pádraic Fogarty, leading Irish ecologist and vocal spokesperson for reversing biodiversity loss, will lead a workshop to explore solutions to this crisis.

There will also be interactive workshop to explore the 17 SDGs, as well as the practical side of applying them to the work of community groups. Davie Phillip, who for the last 20 years has helped to create sustainable communities and locally led initiatives, will lead this community orientated workshop.

Individuals around Ireland are becoming more vocal about the need for climate action. Ray McGrath, who has been working within communities in Waterford to bring climate actions to a wider audience, will lead an action focused workshop set to expand the conversation to all community groups, and identify a range of environmental actions that they can take. 

With floods and droughts increasingly impacting rural farming communities and set to become more severe over the next few years, it is important that we work now to protect our water sources.

For this reason, the final workshop will explore initiatives that are being taken to protect water quality and look at what can be done within communities to help nurture healthy rivers and lakes. Fran Igoe, the southern regional coordinator for the Local Authority Waters Programme, will lead this workshop. Mr Igoe has worked on large scale locally led conservation projects, which will be explored during the workshop.

The event will end with a Q&A panel including all facilitators and speakers, and time over lunch to browse the information stands from local and regional environmental groups. 

Senator Grace O’Sullivan said:

The importance of ‘Think Global, Act Local’ has never been more evident than at the moment. The evidence for strong government and international action goes hand-in-hand with the need to include communities.

We need to give citizens a feeling of agency and improve support for and awareness of environmental initiatives designed to tackle the ecological crisis we face.”

Pádraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust said:

“The extinction crisis is happening in parallel with the climate crisis and it is important the communities can appreciate how this is affecting the places in which they live and work.

Addressing both crises in tandem can bring enormous opportunities for local people when the right initiatives are put in place.”

Annette Dupuy, Wexford PPN Support Officer said:

From this event we want to give attendees three things; evidence based actions that they can replicate in their own areas, an opportunity to make new connections, and most of all inspiration to continue their work in creating a local sustainable future’

We are very excited to bring this event to the South East and to share the great work that is being done in the area.’


[1] The PPN is a countrywide initiative to build a network of community, social inclusion and environmental groups who work within a local authority area. The focus of the PPN is to empower and assist groups to participate in local decision making.

[2] The Irish Environmental Network is an umbrella network that works to support environmental NGOs through access to funding and services. It consists of environmental NGOs that carry out their work through practical conservation work, campaigning, lobbying and raising public awareness of environmental and conservation needs.

[3] Link to Eventbrite page:

[4] Sustainable Development Goals: a set of global goals that have been agreed upon by 193 countries worldwide. The 17 goals seek to achieve over 150 targets aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all people by 2030.

[5] World Wildlife Foundation Living Planet Report 2018

[6] In May of 2018 Mr McGrath, working with Waterford Public Participation Network and the Dioceses of Waterford and Lismore, convened a conference to follow up on the recommendations of Laudato Si – Care of our Common Home, the Papal Encyclical of 2015. They created a ‘menu’ of short term climate actions that were feasible for communities and individuals to carry out.

[7] Groups hosting information stands include: Kilanerin Sustainable Energy Community, Coastwatch, Stop Food Waste, Seal Rescue Ireland, Duncannon’s Green Community, Kilkenny Leader Partnership, 3CAE, Kilkenny Heritage Officer, Local Authority Waters and Communities Officer, Carlow Environmental Network, An Gairdin Beo, Suircan Clonmel, Cabragh Wetlands Tipperary, Tipperary Green Business Network, Tipperary Leader Company, Zero Waste Cashel.  

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