45 clubs to take part in Phase 1 of GAA Green Club Programme
A new GAA Green Club programme will see 45 clubs and two regional venues explore a range of sustainability projects designed to enrich their physical and social environments.
The GAA Green Club Programme, supported by the County & City Management Association and the local authority Climate Action Regional Offices, is delivered in partnership with the LGFA and Camogie Association, with additional support from expert agencies across the five thematic focus areas of the programme, namely: Energy, Waste, Biodiversity, Water, Travel & Transport.
The all-Ireland nature of the initiative was reflected in the contribution to the online launch event by Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications in the Republic and representatives of Northern Ireland Executive’s Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs.
The Green Club Phase One participants were selected from 220 clubs that responded earlier this year to a questionnaire designed to gauge interest in developing a Green Club initiative. The responses highlighted a wealth of sustainability work already being undertaken by GAA units and a desire to further contribute to the green agenda while future-proofing their communities and facilities.
Phase One will run for twelve months from December 2020 with the intention of amassing as much practical learnings from the participating clubs and venues as possible. This will inform the creation of a GAA Green Clubs toolkit that will be made available to all GAA units in Ireland (1,600 clubs, plus county and provincial venues), replete with useful case studies, established partnership models, and funding avenues.
GAA President, John Horan, said: “The Green Clubs Project further demonstrates that at its core the GAA is a community-based organisation grounded in place. The project seeks to support our hard-working volunteers in future-proofing their club facilities while contributing to the sustainability of their community from an environmental and cultural perspective. It also demonstrates the GAA’s commitment as an official SDG Champion of the Irish government.”
Minister Eamon Ryan, TD, said: “I am delighted to support the GAA Green Clubs initiative which will see practical sustainable solutions to tackle climate change implemented by clubs all over Ireland. The GAA has been a valuable partner in championing the Sustainable Development Goals. This initiative plays to the GAA’s strengths; by acting locally to tackle a global issue it will contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions and build awareness of the challenges we face in dealing with climate change.”
Minister Edwin Poots, MLA, also commented on the launch and said: “When it comes to the environment it is only by working together that we can create the behavioural change that is necessary to manage our climate change and environmental risks. The GAA’s five thematic areas of energy, waste, water, biodiversity and transport, align well with my Department’s Green Growth objectives. The challenge I am setting is for Northern Ireland to use Green Growth to change behaviours and to turn climate change from an economic threat into an economic and environmental opportunity.
“I believe the Green Clubs initiative has the potential to be a real catalyst for change, harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of not just the young players on the pitch. It draws in the club officials, their supporters their families and their communities. I hope my Department will be able to continue to explore with the GAA those areas where we can guide and support their activities.”
Attendees of the online launch on Wednesday evening heard Padraig Fallon of the Clan na Gael club in Dundalk outline a recent energy saving project the club undertook with significant outcomes. The project involved major insulation, ventilation, and maintenance works, including switching to LED bulbs throughout their campus, and has resulted in annual energy and maintenance savings of €10,000, vastly improved lighting on their playing pitches while achieving an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of 30 tonnes.
The club submitted an SEAI grant application through Louth Co. Co./Louth Energy Sustainable Energy Community, receiving 50% funding for the project. The club contributed the remaining balance through a seven-year loan paid by savings on their reduced energy spend.
Clan na Gael is one of three mentoring clubs selected, due to their significant existing work and plans in the field of sustainability, to participate in Phase One of the Green Club Programme, along with Mullingar Shamrocks, Westmeath, and Culloville Blues, Armagh. A Green Club Working Group, involving representation from all stakeholders, is overseeing the implementation of Phase One of the project.
Expert Partners for the five thematic areas of Phase One of the Green Club programme are:
· Energy – Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
· Water – Irish Water and the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPro)
· Waste – Regional Waste Management Offices
· Biodiversity – National Biodiversity Data Centre
· Travel & Transport – the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Road Safety Authority
An All-Island Approach
The Green Clubs Programme is an all-island programme. In addition to the local authorities in the 26 counties, the Green Club Working Group is collaborating with Derry City & Strabane District Council, Sustainable NI, Ulster GAA and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in the planning and administration of the Green Club pilot in the six-counties, to include a cross-border project that will be consistent with the objectives and approach of the multi-agency North West Climate Action Plan, currently under development.
List of participating clubs:
The following clubs and grounds are participating in Phase One of the GAA’s new Green Clubs Programme:
Phase One Green Clubs and regional venues:
Culloville Blues, Armagh
Lámh Dhearg, Antrim
St. Mary’s Rasharkin, Antrim
Crossmaglen Rangers, Armagh
St Joseph's Craigbane, Derry
Four Masters, Donegal
Naomh Muire Íochtar na Rosann, Donegal
Belcoo O’Rahilly’s, Fermanagh
Strabane Sigersons, Tyrone
Clan na Gael, Louth
Mullingar Shamrocks, Westmeath
Kildavin Clonegal, Carlow
Na Fianna, Dublin
Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin
St. Finian’s, Dublin
Lucan Sarsfields, Dublin
St. Brigid’s, Dublin
James Stephens, Kilkenny
* MW Hire O’Moore Park. Portlaoise (regional venue)
St Patrick’s, Limerick
Kilmeen & Kilbree Cork
Tralee Parnells, Kerry
Cappoquin Affane, Waterford
Ballina Stephanites, Mayo
Shannon Gaels, Roscommon
St Colman's Camogie Club, Galway
* Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, Bekan (regional venue)
Tipperary energy hub
Rockvale Rovers, Tipperary
Boherlahan Dualla, Tipperary
Carrick Swan, Tipperary
Drom & Inch, Tipperary
Golden Kilfeacle, Tipperary
Moyne Templetuohy, Tipperary
Loughmore Castleiney, Tipperary
Carrick Davins, Tipperary
Holycross Ballycahill, Tipperary
(Due to existing work involving local clubs and an exceptionally large response rate from the county it was decided by the Green Club Working Group to establish a county-based energy hub in Tipperary.)
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