Minister Joe O’Brien praises ‘determination and persistence’ of climate movement as Government commits to just transition

30th April, 2021

Speaking during the debate on the Climate Action Bill (April 29th), Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Social Protection, detailed commitments from both of his departments to community engagement and just transition, praising activists for their “determination and persistence” and “pressing for faster and fairer action.”

Minister O’Brien noted the role played by the climate movement:

“Today it is my honour as Minister for Community Development and Charities to acknowledge the role of the climate movement and the many organisations that comprise it, and to thank them for their determination and persistence.”
“It is a reassurance to me and to the future of the planet and my children’s future that they will keep pressing for faster and fairer action. They will keep pressing for implementation of current and future Climate Action Plans and they will be there if Government Departments do not meet their commitments. They will help ensure accountability for the future of the planet and the future of our children.”

Minister O’Brien noted that the new Statement of Strategy from the Department of Social Protection contains a number of high level goals committing to a Just Transition. He added,

“One of the high level goals outlined in that strategy is, in line with Government policy, to target changes to key social welfare payments to ensure that taxation continues to be progressive thus shielding the most vulnerable and thereby contributing to a Just Transition.”

He also outlined plans to engage community organisations around the country in Climate Action and the commitments in the 5 years Community and Voluntary sector strategy that has specific climate action commitments to:

  • Provide training and capacity building in relation to climate change to community development and local development organisations
  • Pilot and develop models of good practice on climate change adaptation and mitigation at community level
  • Include a focus on climate change in all community development and local development programmes and initiatives

He concluded by outlining a key commitment in the Bill:

“The Bill makes it a requirement in law for Local Authorities to consult with their local PPN in forming their local action plan – this is in recognition of the importance of community groups in the challenge that lies ahead and the importance of bringing everyone on board. We will be supporting the community and voluntary sector to engage in climate action at the local level.”