Ireland Climate action and sustainable development, Communities and society, Democracy, devolution and governance, Finance, Housing and planning

All Things Ireland: Reflecting On COP-27

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Photo by Jason Murphy on Unsplash

Welcome to All Things Ireland

All Things Ireland is the LGIU’s way of bringing you all the latest local government reports and updates from the week so far.

This week the LGIU Ireland brought you the latest briefing on Corporate Planning in local government in Ireland. Our latest briefing in the LGIU series, this briefing examines the work of the NOAC (the National Oversight and Audit Commission) in Ireland. Report number 46 was published in November 2021 and was based on a review of local authorities and regional assemblies’ corporate plans for 2019- 2024.

Finally, as COP-27 draws to a close this week, make sure you check out our latest Global Local on how local government can address the “knowing-doing gap” when helping to tackle climate change.

The week in Irish Local Government

Housing

Outlining the pressures on Ireland’s tourism infrastructure, this report by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation aims details the impact of refugee housing on the tourism and accommodation stock, and sets out a number of policy recommendations to ameliorate the situation. You can find the full report here.

To understand the complexities of housing policy in Ireland, the numerous pressures faced, read this LGIU Research Centre paper on policy-making in an uncertain world. 

Education

Dundalk received an €11 million investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE). Read more about how Dundalk Institute of Technology Craft Apprenticeship Provision is progressing here.

Society

Details for the introduction of a National Living Wage were set at 60% of hourly median wages in line with the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission. It will be introduced over a four-year period and will be in place by 2026, at which point it will replace the National Minimum Wage. Find more here.

€44 million was released for the Social Inclusion and Community Activity Programme (SICAP) in 2023. SICAP is managed at a local level by 33 Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), with support from local authorities. With this new funding spreads to all areas of the country, you can find more details here.

€1.5 million funded 34 Social Enterprise projects nationwide. Successful examples of Social Enterprise included examples from Donegal, Limerick, Kilkenny, Clare, Offaly and Dublin. Read the Minister’s full statement here.

€10 million fund to support parish halls and community centres with energy bills. The Community Support Fund will provide small grants to a wide and diverse range of local community groups to assist with their running costs. Funding will be available to support Parish Halls, Community Centres, Local Development Associations, Social Clubs, ICA Groups, Senior Citizen Groups, Men’s Sheds, Women’s Sheds and much more.

A virtual gathering of key rural stakeholders got together to generate ideas about tackling exclusion and isolation in rural Ireland, through the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP). A recording of the event will be made available on the department’s website in the coming days.

Environment

With combined funding of €9m, the 2023 schemes represent a significant investment in the preservation of Ireland’s built heritage. Applications are now open for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund. Providing support in each local authority area, the schemes will assist hundreds of small-scale, labour-intensive projects as well as larger-scale projects to repair and conserve Irelands historic built environment. Read more here.

81,000 environmental complaints were received by local authorities last year, with 90% of them being about waste or litter. This Environmental Protection Agency report provides the results of the first year of the revised Local Authority Performance Framework, which assesses the effectiveness of local authority inspection activities in targeting key environmental issues. Read the full local authority breakdown here.

To understand more, this AILG Elected Member Information leaflet explains the specific reserved functions under the Litter Act 1997 in the context of managing this blight on the environment. 

Transport

Research from Queens University Belfast and the University of Edinburgh on 20 mph speed limits in Belfast showed no statistically significant differences between the intervention and control sites over time for road traffic collisions. You can find the full research here.

To situate this research into the wider pattern of commuter transformations in Ireland, check out this LGIU briefing on pre and post Covid-19 commuter patterns. 

The Irish Government has agreed to launch the tender process for the construction of the Narrow Water Bridge, linking the Mourne Mountains and the Cooley Peninsula. €3m from the Shared Island Fund has enabled Louth County Council, working with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to bring the project to tender stage. Click here to read Louth County Council Chief Executives response.

Culture

Minister Martin’s speech to UK Parliamentary Committee outlined the Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme as a once in a generation, transformational measure in the funding of the arts in Ireland. Some 2,000 participants will be provided with €325 (£285) a week for three years to allow them to focus on their creative practice and to facilitate research on the impact this will have on their practice, their wellbeing and the arts sector as a whole. Read the full speech here.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin unveiled the Sport Ireland Campus Masterplan Vision, a blueprint proposing a vision and framework for the growth of the Sport Ireland Campus and the long-term development of associated sporting facilities over the next 15–20 years. A planning application for a project was lodged with Fingal County Council by Sport Ireland in August and a decision is expected in the coming weeks. Find more here.

Northern Ireland

Thursday saw the UK Chancellor announce the Autumn Statement. To understand the ramifications of the Chancellor’s statement on NI, this short Twitter thread from Pivotal breaks down the implications for the UK’s only region with suspended devolved governance.

On a lighter note…

Watch this short clip from Cllr Gillian Coughlan of Cork County Council at the Councillor Awards in Bath on October 20th, 2022.

Coming up…

Next week, stay tuned to LGIU Ireland as we bring you latest housing update, as well as a look at conservation in Clare County Council.

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