*Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne and Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy. Photography: Eamon Ward.
MAYOR of the Municipal District of Ennis, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) believes that political actors are ‘not treating the environmental crisis for the emergency it really is’.
In an interview with Claire’s Echoshe says, it’s “sad that people in my age group didn’t realize this environmental crisis sooner.”
A former lawyer, Ms Colleran Molloy admits improving her habits at home by trying to improve her own carbon footprint and setting a good example for voters.
“I certainly made a conscientious effort to help on my small scale. One thing would be shopping. I no longer bring plastic bags. I use boxes, I collect products that are not wrapped in paper. I think twice about buying clothes now, thinking “do I really need them because they’ll have to go to recycling when I’m done with them”.
“I also stopped buying plastic bags for garbage, they don’t need them at all. I also found that with the blue top bins, since they changed the rules so you can recycle clean plastic, I have very little in the black top bin now”.
The Ballybeg resident has also become more familiar with her bike while being more concerned with turning off the lights at home in a bid to improve her carbon footprint.
While saying Clare County Council is proactive – noting it was one of the first councils to abolish fracking – Cllr Colleran Molloy says government and councils need to do even more to encourage a circular economy, adding that “we should be more aggressive in creating alternatives to fossil fuels”. She also highlights the award-winning efforts of the Ennis Tidy Towns group to promote biodiversity in the area.
She believes there is a big opportunity in offshore wind that needs to be acted upon urgently, adding that legislation needs to be implemented quickly to ensure offshore licensing. “Went to a meeting held at Moneypoint with ESB management recently. We heard that the technology has advanced so much that we now need to consider investing heavily in floating offshore power and we are ideally placed in Ireland to exploit this.
“If we look to our neighbors in Scotland and England, they are much further along in this offshore energy. Moreover, it would be so positive for our economy, because it was expected that we would become net exporters of energy. So I think councils and advisers are becoming more aware of the importance of acting on this as soon as possible.
“I don’t think we’re treating it as an emergency, which it really is.”
In 2019, students from Coláiste Mhuire who were protesting against climate change went to local authority elected officials to demand action on climate change. Cllr Colleran Molloy recalls the students leaving an impact on her, recalling their demands for improved walking, cycling and public mobility in Ennis. “Council officials and the Borough of Ennis have been working very diligently on this. It will soon go to public consultation what is proposed in terms of a bus route for Ennis. This has already been designed and work is underway with the NTA for a mid-term launch. Engineers also worked on parking and walking spaces in Ennis to encourage people not to park in the town centre. Major efforts are underway to ensure the intermodal shift from car to pedestrianization and cycling.