Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity, Pippa Hackett is among the speakers at a conference focusing on ‘Just Transition’ taking place today (Thursday, June 9) in Co. Offaly.

The event in Tullamore has been organised by the Civil Society Organisations’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in partnership with Irish Rural Link (IRL).

It will bring together EESC members from each of the 27 EU member states, along with local civil society organisations.

Delegates will debate the necessity of the ‘Just Transition’ concept which aims to ensure the move towards a climate-neutral economy happens in a fair way.

The conference will explore opportunities arising from the movement through three panel discussions:

  • Strengthening communities and building capacities through recreation and heritage;
  • Creating jobs and delivering renewable energy;
  • Investing in education and training.

The event will also be updated on the work of the ‘Connecting Communities with Peatlands’ project by IRL and Community Wetlands Forum and funded under the National Just Transition Fund.

The initiative aims to support community engagement with peatlands by providing training and workshops to community groups to develop projects with peatlands that are beneficial to their local areas and the environment.

Among the guest speakers at the conference will be Kieran Mulvey, Just Transition Commissioner; Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, councillor Declan Harvey, and Seamus Boland, President of the Civil Society Organisations’ Group of the EESC and CEO of Irish Rural Link.

Commenting ahead of the conference, Minister Pippa Hackett said:

“We stand in the doorway to transition – we can see the landscape ahead, some of us have dipped our toes in, but many of us are, understandably, reluctant to fully commit as to do so is to wave goodbye to what we know, what we understand.

“Civil Society Organisations have a tremendously important role to play as communicators, mediators and animators of both the people most impacted and those legislating, at national and EU level, for transition.

“I welcome this conference as one more important step along the road for the most impacted regions of the EU, including our own midlands region of Ireland,” the minister stated.