I.T. editors, working closely with Bertie...
Sixteen environmental groups have protested to Minister for the Environment
Dick Roche over his decision not to select any of their nominees for
membership of the Environmental Protection Agency¹s new advisory committee.
Seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister, they told him by letter last
Friday that they wished to "register our extreme dismay at this decision,
which results in the absence of any environmental NGO [non-governmental
organisation] representation on this body."
"The deliberate exclusion of environmental civil society representation at
this level ... flies in the face of the provisions made for its inclusion in
Section 27 of the 1992 EPA Act [and] can only be construed as a
retrogressive step for the cause of environmental protection".
The Act provides that the Minister must appoint at least one member of the
12-strong EPA advisory committee from a panel nominated by "organisations
which in his opinion are concerned with environmental protection" --
previously An Taisce, Eco-Unesco and Voice.
But in a statutory instrument signed by Mr Roche in December 2004, the
relevant nominating bodies in this cateorgy were changed to Fáilte Ireland
and the Heritage Council -- both State agencies -- and Environmental
Ecological NGOs Core Funding Ltd (EENGOCF).
This umbrella body, representing a total of 24 environmental groups, was
requested by the Minister to nominate six candidates for appointment to the
new advisory committee in January 2005 -- 10 months after the term of office
of its predecessor had expired.
After a process of selection, which included voting, the six nominees
submitted by the environmental NGOs in February 2005 were Jack O'Sullivan, a
member of the previous committee; Elizabeth Cullen, Karin STET Dubsky,
Michael Ewing, Pat Finnegan and Caroline Lewis.
A year later, EENGOCF was informed by the Minister¹s office that the new
advisory committee had been appointed, and none of its nominees were
selected. Instead, Mr Roche chose the "Failte Ireland" quango nominee,
environmental consultant Jeanne Meldon, from the panel.
N.B.(Failte Ireland is a government quango which spends hundreds of millions of taxpayers Euros each year trying to fill the coffers of irish golf course owners,hoteliers and publicans, by luring unwary tourists to the most overpriced country in Europe.)
He also made four appointments directly:
John Dillon, (former president of the IFA; Irelands worst polluters ,farmers who have defied Brussels for decades ),
John Buckley, a Killarney-based auctioneer who was on the previous advisory committee; Irene Sweeney, a community representative from Arklow, and Sean Byrne, of the Wicklow Uplands Council.
Mr Dillon has said he was approached directly by the Minister within weeks of stepping down from the IFA¹s leadership and asked if he would like to serve on the EPA¹s advisory committee;
he had agreed to accept the appointment "for the good of polluters (Irish farmers)".!!
The other committee members are:safe minions,Fianna Fail party toadies, who wont rock any boats:
Katherine Walsh, of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland; Marion Byron (IBEC), Dónal Harte (ICMSA), Carmel Dawson (ICA), Willie Callaghan (Association of Municipal Authorities in Ireland) and John Sweeney (Royal Irish Academy).
The functions of the committee, which is chaired ex-officio by EPA director-general Dr Mary Kelly, include advising the agency on its work
programme, standards, guidelines and codes of practice. However, it is not entitled to receive information on specific licensing cases.
A spokesman for the Minister said it was "not statistically abberrant that not one of the six [nominated by EENGOCF] was chosen". Of the 49 nominations made across five panels representing various interests, after all only one in seven had been appointed in the end.!!
"The Minister choose seven from 49 on the basis of the suitability of the individual nominees as he saw it", he said. One was "a lady called Jeanne
Meldon, who has NGO links herself; she's on the Irish Uplands Council and is a well-regarded planner/environmental consultant".
The 16 environmental NGOs who have complained to Mr Roche are: An Taisce, Bat Conservation Ireland, Coastwatch, Conservation Volunteers Ireland, Coomhola Salmon Trust, Crann, Eco-Unesco, Feasta, Friends of the Irish Environment, Grian, Irish Doctors¹ Environmental Association, Irish Natural Forestry Foundation, Irish Seed Savers¹ Association, Irish Wildlife Trust, Sustainable Ireland Cooperative and Voice.
Environment Editor(Irish Times)
Thanks to Fianna Fail, THOUSANDS more Irish people are choosing to holiday abroad than tourists we can attract to visit Ireland due to soaring prices.
These figures spell bad news for Irish tourism, showing that the number of people coming here to holiday in 2005 nearly stagnating, while there was a massive increase of almost 700,0000 in the number of Irish people travelling abroad.
The number of Irish people opting for an overseas break increased by almost 500,000 last year compared with 2004.
Overall visitor numbers from abroad rose by about 400,000 mainly coming from continental Europe but numbers fell from key markets like Britain, North America and other long-haul markets.
Fine Gael tourism spokesman, Jimmy Deenihan said that these figures "are worrying but when one analyses all the figures published by the Central Statistics Office, a depressing picture emerges".
The race by Irish people anxious to escape from high prices has led to a rise of 1.1m annual visits abroad over the past five years.
Tourism Ireland chief executive, Paul O'Toole said that " it will be a challenge to increase the number of holidaymakers who form the most important segment of overall visitor numbers".
High prices for food, drink and services and problems with polluted angling waters, restricted access for hill-walkers and poor road signage for foreign drivers have all been blamed for making holidays here less attractive.