29th April 2021 | Climate Change, Press Releases

Minister O’Brien praises ‘determination and persistence’ of climate movement as Government commits to just transition

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Speaking during the debate on the Climate Action Bill today (April 29th), Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Social Protection, detailed commitments in the two government Departments he works in related to community engagement and just transition, praising activists for their “determination and persistence” and “pressing for faster and fairer action.”

Minister O’Brien noted the role played by the climate movement:

“People coming together and in a coherent voice, in large numbers telling the powers that be that this is not good enough is a powerful force. You have got us to this point today where we progress the process of ensuring that climate action, the climate action that you have campaigned for, becomes law.”

“I met some of these organisations recently and it is a reassurance to me and to the future of the planet and my children’s future that it is clear that you will keep pressing. You will keep pressing for faster and fairer action. You will keep pressing for implementation of current and future Climate Action Plans. You will be there if Government Departments do not reach their commitments and you will help ensure accountability. Accountability for the future of the planet and the future of our children.”

“So today it is my honour frankly, as Minister for Community Development and Charities to acknowledge the role of the climate movement and the various organisations that make it up and to thank you for your determination and persistence.”

Minister O’Brien noted that the new Statement of Strategy from the Department of Social Protection contains a number of high level goal committing to a Just Transition.

“The new Statement of Strategy from the Department of Social Protection has a very strong commitment to help ensure a Just Transition. Indeed, one of the high level goals outlined in that strategy is, in line with Government policy, to target changes to key social welfare payments to ensure that taxation continues to be progressive thus shielding the most vulnerable and thereby contributing to a Just Transition.”

He also outlined plans to engage community organisations around the country in Climate Action and the commitments in the 5 years Community & Voluntary sector strategy that has specific climate action commitments to:

  • Provide training and capacity building in relation to climate change to community development and local development organisations
  • Pilot and develop models of good practice on climate change adaptation and mitigation at community level and
  • Include a focus on climate change in all community development and local development programmes and initiatives

He concluded by outlining a key commitment in the Bill:

“The Bill makes it a requirement in law for Local Authorities to consult with their local PPN in forming their local action plan– this is in recognition of the importance of community groups in the challenge that lies ahead and the importance of bringing everyone on board. We will be supporting the community and voluntary sector to engage in climate action at the local level.”