Can climate change present an opportunity for rural Ireland?

‘Climate change, an opportunity for rural Ireland’ will be the topic for discussion at Irish Rural Link’s annual conference in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, on Monday, May 27.

The conference will be opened by Commissioner Phil Hogan, EU Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development.

“The advent of climate change is no longer in dispute. Its consequences will affect communities all over the world, not least of all in Ireland and in particular rural communities,” said Seamus Boland, Irish Rural Link CEO.

“The Irish Government, having signed the Paris agreement, must introduce a range of measures, including a significant increase of carbon tax and a significant reduction across all industry of carbon emissions, especially in agriculture – the single biggest industry in rural Ireland,” he said.

It is expected that we all will need to change and adapt our current lifestyles in a way that will dramatically alter our lives. For some, these changes could dramatically change the way we farm, or the types of employment that may be available.

Irish Rural Link, Seamus said, believes that rural communities must be at the heart of policy formation in relation to climate change to help make it an opportunity.

A panel discussion of experts from: the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI); the National Transport Authority (NTA); National Rural Network (NRN); the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS); and the Western Development Commission (WDC) will share their knowledge of what is being done to adapt to the change.

They will outline initiatives funded by the Rural Development Programme and other funding as well as the potential of further funding in this area.

Workshops

Workshops will present case studies from companies and community groups that are contributing to the mitigation of climate change in the areas of agriculture; energy; conservation; transport; and the rural economy and how all rural communities can make changes while at the same time create employment.

The conference begins at 9:00am and runs until 2:30pm, with lunch. For a copy of the full agenda and to register for this free event go to Eventbrite at: www.eventbrite.ie.