Transition Monaghan reviews year and plans ahead

At the recent AGM of Transition Monaghan, the group reviewed its activities since its last AGM. Event highlights included tree planting, film screenings and a trip to climate campaign event. Also a number of well attended events were arranged in conjunction with various local festivals such as Castleblayney Drama Festival and Carrickmacross Arts Festival. Another activity of the Group has been the submission of responses to various public consultations. The most recent was one on climate change for the Citizens Assembly. Short articles and a noticeboard are compiled on a weekly basis for this column and for Transition Monaghan website and Facebook page. Outgoing chairperson Michael Callaghan is now involved in coordinating the umbrella group Transition Ireland Northern Ireland (TINI).

The Transition Monaghan committee for the coming year are Chair / Meeting Convenor: Dearbhla Lenehan, Secretary: Laura Hannon, Treasurer: Michael Connolly. Public Relations: Liam Murtagh.

Dearbhla Lenehan said that she looked forward to another active year for Transition


Dearbhla Lenehan, new Chairperson of Transition Monaghan

Monaghan. One of the events being planned she said is a unique workshop on deep ecology / reconnecting with nature. More details on this and other events will soon be available. She went on to say that the Group expects to build the profile of its new website. Also the Group expects to be involved with the umbrella Transition Ireland Northern Ireland group in the forthcoming National Dialogue on Climate Change being developed by the Dept of Energy, Communications and Climate Change. For further details on Transition Monaghan Group please find us on Facebook or Twitter – @transition_mon

Events in September can be found here

Bord na Móna search for ‘Sustainability Heroes’

Bord na Móna is searching for Sustainability Heroes around Ireland who are doing their bit to live sustainably, in a variety of different ways. It can be something small, like recycling or composting at home, or making a community or business wide effort to lead the change. Four winning entrants will be invited to a special Today FM Dermot & Dave Show broadcast live from the Bord na Móna Naturally Driven Café. To enter: 1. Like the Bord na Móna Facebook page. 2. Describe what you or your community is doing to live more sustainably or nominate someone you know who is making a special effort.  For more details of the competition check the Bord na Móna Facebook page.

While this Bord na Móna initiative might on the one hand be welcomed, in that it promotes sustainability, there are on the other hand, concerns which have been raised in relation to the unsustainability of Bord na Móna’s core activity – the extraction of peat from Ireland’s landscape. Peat is a carbon rich and biodiversity rich material. Last year the climate campaigner John Gibbons published an article entitled Bord na Móna: of strip-mining and greenwashing’ on his blog ‘’. In it he criticised Bord na Mona’s the company’s ‘Naturally Driven’ campaign. He said: “Bord na Móna’s corporate rebranding as ‘Naturally Driven’ is an exercise in cynicism. It pedals empty PR slogans in place of genuine reform of what could well be Ireland’s single dirtiest, most polluting and ecologically damaging organisation

Carrickmacross Art Festival sustainability event Aug 2017

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Pictured above are some of those who attended a workshop on global justice issues as part of the Carrick Arts festival. Transition Monaghan linked in with the organisation Development Perspectives to run the event. The workshop is part of the Sustainable Development Goals Challenge (#sdgchallenge). For more information on this and other workshops check us out or on Facebook or Twitter.

Environmental Protection in our Constitution?

the citizen assemblyThe Citizens’ Assembly must call for a referendum to give a constitutional right toenvironmental protection to the people of Ireland, says the country’s leading environmental coalition. The Environmental Pillar – a coalition of 26 national environmental organisations – outlined its view in a submission for the Assembly’s upcoming session on ‘How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change.’

 environmental pillarAccording to the Environmental Pillar the Citizen’s Assembly now has an unparalleled opportunity to use its unique position to propose amendments to the constitution and fill the gap left by Government inaction on climate change. The statement from the Groups says that giving the people the constitutionally protected right to live in a healthy environment would encourage politicians to take real long-term actions and ensure that those actions are not diluted with the change of guard at Dáil Éireann every five years. They claim that a constitutional amendment “is the only way to ensure we drop our embarrassing moniker of climate laggard and move up the international leaderboard.”

A number of spokespeople for the Environmental Pillar have indicated their backing for the call for a referendum. Donna Mullen, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar, and a former cardiac physiologist for 25 years said: “This constitutional approach will yield benefits to our economy, society, and most importantly, health. Already 1,200 people are dying prematurely from air pollution in Ireland each year, with over 150,000 deaths across the globe already attributed to climate change every year.

John Sweeney, Emeritus Professor at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and a

John sweeny

John Sweeney, NUI Maynooth

spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar added his voice: “Every Irish government since 1990 has endorsed the findings of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the serious implications of climate change. Yet the State has failed to deliver a meaningful response. This shift is needed now more than ever. Without action today, Ireland will soon suffer the impacts of climate change such as increased flooding, sea level rise, increased storm intensity, and summer drought.”

Attracta Uí Bhroin, Facilitator of the Environmental Law Implementation Group at the Irish Environmental Network also voiced her support: “Yes, there are some specific climate actions across key sectors which are needed, but the task before us as a nation with our assembly of citizens calls for a paradigm shift in Ireland’s approach to climate change. Let’s use tools which have proven themselves as effective mechanisms to guide our courts and our legislature across many issues – let’s use the Constitution to set the bar for environmental protection essential to climate action.”

On the weekends of 30th September & 4th November, the Citizens’ Assembly will deliberate on the topic of ‘How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change. The Assembly’s recently call for submissions from the public on the climate issue closed on Friday last. The submissions can be viewed

Events on in August and September can be found here


As autumn approaches many of the trees around us are producing seed – the stock for

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John McKeown

future generations of trees. Due to the loss of many trees from our landscape in modern times a lot more trees are needed, both for biodiversity reasons and to reduce climate damaging pollution.

We can help Mother Nature to grow more trees and we can plant them in selected locations like new hedges, shelter belts or screening unsightly buildings. To do this we need to collect seeds when they are mature. The seeds of the Wych Elm tree are the first to mature and are ready for collection in May/ June. This chance has passed for this year, but two Transition Monaghan members collected elm seeds for the first time and have 100 elm trees now growing. Elm seeds are sown at collection time and make good growth in that year whereas most other tree seeds need to be stored for a year or two before they will germinate.
There is still plenty of opportunity to collect as the year progresses and the seeds mature.
July is the month for collecting Wild Cherry seeds, but you need to move immediately or the birds will be away with them. Collect Hazel, Rowan, Whitebeam, Guilder Rose seeds in September. In October/November we collect Oak, Spindle, Haws, Sloes. Finally we collect Holly seeds in December. Seeds have different growth habits. Some grow straight away while others need one or two years weathering to break down dormancy before they grow. This process is known as stratification.

Our Transition Group will be holding a workshop on seed treatment and setting up a small tree nursery next October. We will be collecting some seed on the day, but so much the better if you collect seed over the next few months and bring them to the workshop. There will be updates in this column and notice of exact date of workshop.

August events can be found here 

Rossmore Park Clean up, this Sat, 12th Aug at 11AM 2017

by Laura Hannon

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Volunteers pictured taking a break at a recent clean up at Rossmore Park

Rossmore Forest Park in Monaghan Town is a wondrous place for many – spending childhoods fumbling around between tree roots and over stepping-stones. A lot of us hold Rossmore so dear because of the nostalgia it resurfaces any time we visit. For these reasons, the people of Monaghan are very passionate about protecting and nurturing the park.

Continue reading

Carrick Arts Festival embraces sustainability

Ireland’s biggest small festival in Carrickmacross will this year not just have a line-carrick festival.pngup of Art, Music, Comedy, Drama, Poetry, Film, Crafts and Artisan trade stalls. Some festival fringe events on a sustainability theme are also taking place. They are being coordinated by Conan Connolly of Transition Monaghan.

(1) Film screening – Demain / Tomorrow: Wednesday, 9 August at 9:30pm in Dusty O’Neill’s, Carrickmacross. Two documentary makers travel the world in search of answers about how humanity can help deal with global environmental challenges. During their journeys, they encounter many visionary initiatives. Event hosted by Transition Monaghan.


(2) Local Solutions to Global Problems (Workshop): Saturday, 12 August , 1pm – 1:45pm in Callans of The Bridge. Facilitated by Development Perspectives Stephanie Kirwan and Gareth Conlon. Our world that seems to have so many problems from Trump to Climate change, to homelessness and Brexit. What do this all have in common and what can we do here in Carrickmacross to begin to deal with these problems? ‘Development Perspectives’ is a Development Education NGO based in the North East.

Stephanie Kirwan and Gareth Conlon of Development Perspectives

(3) Guided Tour of Carrickmacross Community Allotments: Sunday, 13 August at 11.30am. Patsy Tumelty will lead the tour and answer your GIY questions.

(4) Sustainable Living and Permaculture in Action (Workshop): Sunday, 13 August 1pm – 1.45pm in Callans of The Bridge. Conan Connolly and Gareth Conlon are both certified Permaculture Designers. Their mission is to promote systems and living spaces where everyone can be happy and healthy and live in a beautiful, safe environment. It’s a workshop that will provide inspiration and ideas for your garden, your home and your life.

Other events in August can be found here

Climate plan more an ‘action promise’ than an action plan


Last month 

Oisin Coughlan, Director, Friends of the Earth Ireland

the Government’s long-awaited National Mitigation Plan on Climate Change was published. Many environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth have expressed their disappointment that the plan doesn’t do enough to reduce Ireland’s climate-changing pollution.

Commenting on the plan, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan said: “I would like to be able to welcome this plan, we’ve waited so long for it. But it’s very disappointing, it’s more of an ‘action promise’ than an action plan. Mr. Coghlan did accept that it was good to see Taoiseach Leo Varadkar state in his foreword that what we need a ‘societal transformation’, ‘sustained policy change’ and the resources to back that up. Oisin Coghlan goes on to say that the document itself just doesn’t commit to enough policy change.


Commenting on the lack of some key actions Mr. Coghlan said: “There’s no end date set for burning peat and coal electricity for example, two measures that the Government was first advised to do 19 years ago. There’s nothing concrete on supporting small-scale solar to actually enable communities take part in the energy transition by making schools, sports clubs and parish halls into locally owned power plants, something the Taoiseach himself says he supports.”


The Friends of the Earth Director points out that the document “is honest about the scale of the challenge we face and our lack of progress so far, but it simply doesn’t commit to enough new actions to reduce pollution.” He continues: “The bottom line is that this plan fails the fundamental test of a climate action plan, it doesn’t say how much pollution will be reduced as a result of the actions it lists. Perhaps because too many of them are still ‘under consideration’. A half decent plan – like the last plan 10 years ago – would identify the emissions pathway we are on now, list the measures we are now going to take to reduce emissions, and state how much lower emissions will be as a result of all the measures in the plan. This document just doesn’t do that.”


In conclusion Oisin Coghlan says that we will have to wait for the new Planning Framework, the new Capital Investment Plan, the new Renewable Energy Policy and Budget 2018 “to see if the Government is serious about translating the shift in rhetoric into real action.”

Events in August can be found here