Irish Rural Link – Update from Conference

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Theme: Climate Change – An Opportunity for Rural Ireland

With Mr. Phil Hogan EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development

Irish Rural Link Annual Conference 2019

The Conference looked at how rural communities can contribute to the mitigation of Climate Change in the areas of Agriculture, Energy, Conservation, Transport and the Rural Economy.



from PPN Secretariat Member, Francie Gilmartin:

“There were a lot of very interesting speakers there .The message was that rural people should not be treated as second class citizens.
Commissioner Hogan stated that beef farmers will have to change as there will be too much beef produced and that each farmer will have a carbon account in the next 5 years.           

It was also stated that fibre broadband needed to be brought to the home not the cabinet. Francie Gilmartin asked Commissioner Hogan about planning on the family farm and expanded on Leitrim PPN’s research on Waste Water Treatment and Single Dwellings (carried out by CERIS Sligo IT in cooperation with Leitrim Co. Council). Commissioner Hogan informed Francie that Europe has no input into to Planning in Ireland and he stated that he was happy to see the PPN represented as he had started them. He said that the Leitrim PPN should get together with Leitrim County Council and the Department to look at the model of smart village planning system.”


Overview of the Conference

After a welcome from Seamus Bolan (CEO) and Tom Lavin (Chairman) the conference was opened by EU Commissioner, Mr Phil Hogan. Amongst other topics he outlined the nine objectives of CAP, public goods agenda, and payments for ecosystem services. Also ‘Why peatlands matter for climate change’

Through the course of the morning discussions took place on

  • Energy Efficiencies;
  • Better Energy Communities Grants – opportunities available to community groups and examples of community projects, benefits to communities, energy savings.
  • Rural Economy –An overview, levels of growth in rural areas, opportunities for green jobs.
  • Agriculture –A background to innovation in Agriculture i.e. EIPs Natural Environment
  • Overview of Peatlands and wetlands communities and how they contribute to mitigation of climate change and the importance of conservation and restoration.
  • Transport- Overview of measures of how public transport is adapting to climate change, especially in rural areas and how public transport can assist in mitigating Climate Change.


Leitrim’s own Kenny McCauley of McCauley Woods hosted a workshop on his award-winning biomass fuels project.

Other workshops covered

  • Grow Remote
  • European Innovation Partnership BRIDE Project
  • Abbeyleix Bog Project
  • Rural Transport Programme- Flexibus

Irish Rural Link AGM 2019 takes place on Mon. 10th June 2019.

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