A motion to phase out future infrastructure and exploration of fossil fuels in the county by amending the County Development Plan has been voted down at County Hall.
A special meeting of Cork County Council was held on Friday to consider the motion by Green Party Councillor Alan O’Connor to amend the nearly completed County Development Plan for the next six years.
Following extensive discussion among the councillors and a report from Director of Planning Michael Lynch, the motion was voted down with six votes for and 29 against.
A number of councillors said they supported the motion in theory but had various concerns with regard to the working mechanics of the motion and possible legal issues that might arise if it was put in place.
In his address to the chamber, Mr O’Connor said it was a draft document, subject to scrutiny at a later stage and he felt this was a good way to develop the necessary guidelines on the issue.
The motion was seconded by Mr O’Connors Green Party colleague Liam Quaide who said this motion was a way to turn the green rhetoric that is often found in the chamber into clear and concise action.
A number of councillors sympathised with the motion but said policy change needed to come from a national level.
Independent Councillor Marcia Dalton said that while initially, she thought Mr O’Connor was “bonkers` for bringing forward the motion, after some extensive research she had completely changed her opinion and now felt the motion was in line with Government policy and commitment to Climate Change.
“It is in compliance with what national and local government are aiming to do,” Mrs Dalton outlined.
Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea said he felt clarity was needed in relation to Government policy and would support a letter seeking same to be sent to Dublin.
Fianna Fáil Councillor Gearoid Murphy said while he supported the idea, he thought supply measures would impact the most vulnerable and least well off in society.
These concerns were repeated by other councillors such as Fine Gael Councillor Anthony Barry who said that this motion was years ahead of where society was.
Although the motion was not carried, Mr O’Connor said he was heartened by the debate and the comments of a number of his colleagues.