Local and European Election Labour candidates, Liam Van der Spek and Dominic Hannigan, were on the campaign trail in Cavan last week and teamed up to demand action on climate change.
Dominic Hannigan, who's the Labour Euro candidate for the Midlands North West constituency, stopped off in Cavan as part of a series of meetings with local election candidates, highlighting vital environmental policies for the coming elections.
He joined with party colleague Liam van der Spek who is running for Cavan County Council in the Cavan-Belturbet municipal district.
Meeting in Con Smith Park, both called for collaborative action on climate change. “Connecting the dots between local, national and international participation and policy is vital if we want to achieve our climate action goals. One of my three main policy platforms is climate action and protecting the environment,” said Mr Hannigan.
“Taking action to save the environment can seem overwhelming and daunting so that many people simply don’t know where to begin,” he continued. “I’m advocating an approach of linking tangible local actions that connect on a global scale to really have an impact.
He suggested, for example, a deposit-return type scheme for plastic bottles, where consumers could drop off used plastic bottles for a financial return. "If we had even one such scheme in each of the 200 urban centres in Ireland, and if 1,000 bottles were deposited at each per week, that’s 200,000 bottles a week taken back into the circular economy in a sustainable way. Now, think of those numbers on an EU wide scale," said Mr Hannigan.
He said that the younger generation is more aware of environmental issues and pointed to the recent #schoolstrike4climate protests.
Local election candidate Liam van der Spek said that local government had a role to play too in this regard. "We need a climate approach that encompasses local government, national Government and the European Parliament. This is the only way we can achieve the comprehensive change required across Europe, and the world, at this crucial point in our history. We must be leaders, at every level of our European community."