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12th November 2020 | Green Gazette

Council update: Green Party Councillors pass motions on maternity leave, cycling infrastructure and biodiversity

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A motion brought by Green Party Cllr Eva Dowling on the issue of maternity and paternity leave for Local Representatives was passed unanimously by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council this week. The motion calls for the council to write to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage requesting leave be introduced.

Cllr Dowling took to twitter to express her delight at the motion’s success, noting that the vote took place on Equal Pay Day, which highlights the income gap between men and women in Ireland.

South Dublin County Council representatives have hailed moves towards a more sustainable county, approved at this month’s council meeting. Monday’s session – which facilitated remote attendance for the first time thanks to an intervention by Minister Malcolm Noonan – saw cross-party consensus on game changing measures in biodiversity, housing, transport, and climate action.

The Councillors particularly welcomed amendments to the county’s Biodiversity Action Plan in line with the Green Party’s recommendations. This feedback focused on improving oversight and accountability, including establishment of a new policy subcommittee dedicated to biodiversity.

“It was great to see so many submissions from the public on such an important subject. Communities have shown with their responses that there is a deep understanding of the urgency of the crisis we’re facing. This Action Plan is an important step to getting back on track,” said Cllr Liam Sinclair, who led the Green Party response. Having been adopted at Monday’s meeting, the Biodiversity Action Plan be published and enacted in 2021.

Next year’s housing retrofit strategy will see social homes made warmer and more energy-efficient, while 200 social homes are also scheduled for upgrades to windows and doors. Cllr Peter Kavanagh said, “South Dublin County Council has unveiled the first phase of an ambitious retrofitting strategy today, and these changes to windows and doors across the county will not only cut carbon emissions, but will also save money for tenants in social housing, protecting the most vulnerable from rising fuel costs.”

On climate mitigation, the Council is taking steps to ensure roads, infrastructure and flood mitigation systems are safe and resilient through the storm season with the creation of a Severe Weather Assessment Team (SWAT). This new body will inspect and maintain critical infrastructure as it responds to major weather events. “It’s great to see the council taking a pro-active approach to climate mitigation. Every winter we’re seeing stronger storms, more frequent power outages, and repeated flood events. Any step to safeguard our infrastructure in the face of a changing climate has to be welcomed,” said Cllr Laura Donaghy.

On private transport, the council confirmed in a response to Cllr Clare O’Byrne that it is identifying locations for new charging stations for electric vehicles. This will be funded by central government under the National Climate Action Plan as part of a regional network of 22kw EV charge points.

In a meeting for Fingal County Council, Cllr Karen Power put forward a motion to request further consultation with cycling stakeholder on the shared spaces for both cycling and walking in the designs for Harry Reynolds Road. Cllr Power highlighted that the quality of the designs is limited and will become outdated with the publication of new National Cycling Manual. The motion was passed and will allow the Dublin Cycling Campaign and other stakeholders to engage with the engineers on the detailed design stage.