How the Green Wave hit Cork with six new councillors

How the Green Wave hit Cork with six new councillors

Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan with newly elected councillors Oliver Moran and Lorna Bogue. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

The ‘Green Wave’ that has swept across local government in Ireland should be viewed by other parties as a public call to tackle the climate crisis currently being faced across the country and the world.

That is according to the new cohort of Green Party councillors in Cork county and city.

The Green Party took four seats in City Hall, with Lorna Bogue, Oliver Moran, Colette Finn and Dan Boyle elected to the council while Liam Quaide and Alan O’Connor secured seats for the party in the county.

New Green Party councillors Dan Boyle and Lorna Bogue. Picture: David Keane.
New Green Party councillors Dan Boyle and Lorna Bogue. Picture: David Keane.

“I really don’t want for this surge to be seen as something that other parties feel they have to kick back against,” said Cllr Moran.

“They should see it as a call from the electorate to step up to an opportunity and a challenge.

“We’re very serious about the points we set out in our manifesto so the next step is to set out how we achieve them,” he added.

“We’re not interested in these policies for ourselves.

“We want them for the benefit of our city, the whole of Ireland and the planet.”

Cllr Oliver Moran (GP)
Cllr Oliver Moran (GP)

The Dáil recently declared a climate emergency while the United Nations called for changes in the way cities are run.

“We have some parties that will stand by the flag on some issues,” said Cllr Moran.

“The Dail has declared an emergency on the issue of climate change so I want to see them stand by the flag on this.

“The response to this emergency cannot just be a Green Party response, it has to be across all parties,” he added.

The Green Party's Grace O'Sullivan, Collette Finn and Dan Boyle canvassing in Cork city with Conn Donovan, co-founder of Cycling Works Cork.
The Green Party's Grace O'Sullivan, Collette Finn and Dan Boyle canvassing in Cork city with Conn Donovan, co-founder of Cycling Works Cork.

City councillor Lorna Bogue called for City Hall to be more ambitious.

“We need to see some ambition like, for example, a motion that Cork will be carbon neutral by 2030.

“An ambitious target like that will get the council moving in that direction.

Cllr Liam Quaide (GP)
Cllr Liam Quaide (GP)

“People can buy into that because it’s not just about the people in the council itself, it’s about the people of Cork buying into local government,” she added.

“The council needs to provide these ambitious goals for the city to get behind.” She added there are a number of issues, such as the lack of a trees policy, that the party is keen to highlight.

“We’ve got four councillors so I think we can have an influence.” She also proposed making council meetings more accessible to members of the public by live streaming them and providing an Irish Sign Language Interpreter.

Cllr Alan O'Connor (GP).
Cllr Alan O'Connor (GP).

In the county, newly elected Cllr Alan O’Connor said that one of the key areas in need of focus is planning.

“The Cork County Development Plan, published in 2014, is up for renewal in the near future,” he explained.

“The infrastructure we build underpins a lot of the emissions we produce so if we can change the way we plan the county, we can encourage more environmentally friendly practices.” He added that with councillors, TDs and even the Taoiseach indicating an understanding that the people of Ireland want more action on climate change, he hopes to see the issue come to the fore at all levels.

Cllr Collette Finn. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Cllr Collette Finn. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

“I really hope I can work with colleagues in the council on the same wavelength to turn it around.

“Incremental changes that we can make at a local level, while they may not change the world in one go, can be part of a bigger national and international jigsaw in the fight against this climate crisis.”

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