CORK City Council has recognised that there is a climate and biodiversity emergency and established a new committee to manage the local authority’s reaction.
A motion calling for recognition of the emergency, the establishment of the committee, and a new tree policy was the first item on the agenda on Monday night for the Green Party, which returned to City Hall with four seats after a decade-long absence from the chamber.
However, rather than waiting for the motion to be debated in a jam-packed session, Lord Mayor John Sheehan, Fianna Fáil, proposed it under his items at the start of the meeting and it was approved unanimously.
Cllr Oliver Moran, the Green Party, welcomed the move and said that the Lord Mayor had elevated the issue above the politics of the chamber.
“Symbolically, it raises it. It’s not just a Green Party issue — it’s an issue for all of Cork City. That’s what we wanted it to be.
The Corporate Affairs department is now looking at the details of establishing the committee, but it is expected that it will be ready by the next council meeting in July, where appointments will be made.
Mr Moran said the committee will cover everything the council does.
“It’s accepted as a genuine emergency. It’s not a symbolic thing. The fact that an emergency has been declared means that everything needs to be seen through that lens.
“When you’re discussing transport, it’s in the context of a climate and biodiversity emergency. When you’re discussing planning, it’s in the context of a climate and biodiversity emergency.
“Local interests and vested interests will have to be seen through the lens of an emergency,” he said.
He said that he wants to see involvement from people from outside the council too.
“It’s important that it’s comprised of people from all parties, and also civil society in Cork. It can’t just be something that’s driven from the council, it also has to come from local communities in their day to day world,” he said.