■ Call upon the Environmental Protection Agency to draft, with public participation, a National Environmental Action Plan with short, medium and long-term targets to be approved by the Dáil and social partners.
■ Enact the provision in the Environmental Protection Act to subject local authorities’ sewage treatment activities to an EPA licensing regime.
■ All licenses granted by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaelteacht should be reviewed in light of the Mahon Tribunal findings of political impropriety, and in particular the granting of license for the Corrib oil and gas refinery. Furthermore, any future granting of licenses should be inclusive of a vote from a committee of lay people (working class), stakeholders and experts in the field, to reflect total public involvement, a non – quango to give transparency, economic democracy and service firstly to the country, and a reflection of our commitment to Local Agenda 21. All Environmental Protection Agency licenses to follow the same remit.
Wildlife and Biodiversity
■ We would establish a special dept. within the Dept of Environment for all matters concerning Birds, Wildlife, Habitat and Biodiversity. Far too little consideration has been given to these life-sustaining, but threatened natural resources.
■ We would ensure an up-to-date National Biodiversity Plan
■ To use Hemp instead of short rotation plantations to supply the needs for wood pulp factories and allow the forest lands presently under the control of Coillte to either regenerate naturally or be managed by the Local Community.
■ Fís Nua call for the reintroduction of the “Native Woodland Scheme”
■ Set up a National Zero Waste Agency to achieve Zero Waste within 10-years and actively oppose incineration of all waste.
■ The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a 24-hour enforcement phone line and 24 hour monitoring.
■ Increase spending on capital investment for sewage treatment infrastructure in key towns and villages under development pressure.
■ Require local authorities to have overall plans to specify the forecasted transport, education, and community service capacity requirements and to inform the Department of Education of new zoning decisions and changes to County Development Plans that have implications for future educational, community and recreational needs.
■ Support unified quality and health standards for agricultural production globally. Support Fair Trade and ethical projects worldwide and work towards the removal of farm subsidy programmes in the wealthier nations.
■ Promote the clean green image of Ireland abroad creating a ‘green Ireland’ brand for food products and ensure Ireland becomes a GM-free zone and ban farming of cloned animals.
■ Set a target for 10% of national acreage to be organically converted by 2018 and 20% by 2025.
■ We endorse and seek to promote all types of farming, fishing and agricultural industries as a primary source of food supply for the home market. We include in this the stealth management of wild animals as a native food source.
■ Call for an investigation into the closure of our sugar plants with the view of reopening the Carlow plant as soon as possible. Re-introduce the growing of Hemp as a sustainable crop to supply the present insulation needs in the building industry. Open a plant to produce Sheep’s wool as an insulation.
■ Launch an investigation into the failure of the Forestry industry to supply the Irish needs for timber suitable for the building industry. –
■ We denounce all forms of animal cruelty and terrorisation, and hunting animals for sport.
National Emergency Plan
■ We would immediately commence a multi- departmental National Emergency Plan to include risk assessment and management of national crises such as climate change, peak oil, national and food security, chemical and viral health threads and natural disasters.
Reform of the water sector in Ireland
Fís Nua opposes the proposed introduction of water metering and calls for the following measures in relation to conservation and improvement of water supply:
- Conserve the usage of potable water by encouraging home & business environmental improvements e.g. dual flush toilets, rainwater harvesting, and recycling of recycling of water from sinks/baths/showers by using water buttresses, reed beds etc. This should be implemented by:
a) Offering grants and public works support for water conservation and wastewater treatment improvement projects, where appropriate
b) Introducing a system of tax credits for businesses offering services in the field of sustainable and environmentally friendly building improvements including water conservation.
c) Introducing a system of tax credits for individuals & businesses that undertake environmentally positive changes to their homes & business premises.
It should be noted that funding via tax credits has the additional advantage of spreading any cost to the state over a longer period of time.
- Promote organic systems of wastewater treatment in the countryside such as reed beds
- Raise the level of the water table and the quality of ground water by conserving trees and encouraging the planting of trees. .
- Construct dams. Stop paying farmers to drain land, and instead pay them to dam up the old marshes (those which were not built on). These natural marshes would hold back billions of litres of water, and, for a tiny cost, Ireland would have water for generations to come. One single small dam would save more water than 2 million water meters.
- An immediate end to the practise of water fluoridation in Ireland
- Full and enforced implementation of the best practice recommendations in the EPA’s Water Treatment Manual on Disinfection 2011 to reduce the levels of over-chlorination water and the presence of harmful trihalomethanes (THMs) in the water supply.
- Maintain existing Local Authority responsibility for water supply with additional support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to encourage liaison and communication across authorities to promote environmental improvement projects.
Fis Nua believe that the designation of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in relation to bog management was ill advised because proper consultation did not take place which we would consider a breach of the Aarhus Convention. We believe:
a) ALL the bogs in Ireland should be managed to an agreed management plan.
b) Each bog should have an elected management committee from within the local community and monitored by representatives of that community.
c) We propose those turf cutters inside and outside the present SAC designation be allowed cut their turf for an interim period until other acceptable arrangements have been found.
d) The possibility of allotting Coillte managed lands, as compensation to turfcutters in order to allow them to plant trees suitable for coppicing should be explored. This would have the potential to give them a sustainable fuel supply.
e) The idea should also be explored of leasing allotments of Coillte land to other residents who wish to become self sufficient for fuel.