Rebellion Week Protest (October 2019)

On Tuesday 12th October 2019 local activists from Transition Monaghan and other groups staged a “die in” at The Diamond as a local action during Rebellion Week. A “die in” is a peaceful protest where participants lie on the ground for a period of time symbolizing humanity’s future fate if we don’t act on the climate crisis asap.

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Conference on ‘Climate Justice: What Can We Do?’

MEG member Liam Murtagh went along recently to a conference on Climate Justice hosted by Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and organised by the Drogheda based development education group ‘Development Perspectives’. While initially setting out the extent of the global challenges of climate change and climate justice and the lack of action to address them, the conference presenters went on to focus on some practical responses in the education field in Ireland.

Main speakers at the Climate Justice conference were l to r:John Sweeney, Climatologist, NUI Maynooth, Ann Cleary, DkIT Green-CampusCommittee and Elaine Nevin, Eco UNESCO.

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Monaghan Marchers Brave Storm to Join Worldwide Campaign for a Safer Climate

On the eve of the UN Summit on climate change in Paris (COP21), hundreds of thousands of people marched to demand action on climate change in cities across the globe. Among the estimated crowd of 5,000 in Dublin, was a number of people who made the journey on a bus organised by Transition Monaghan, despite adverse weather conditions.

climate march

Climate campaigners from Monaghan pictured outside the Custom House at the start of last Sunday’s Climate March in Dublin.    

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Potential of small biogas plants to produce energy and compost

We have a renewable energy source which is largely untapped in Ireland.  Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a great story to tell.  It takes slurry and surplus agri waste as well as certain types of waste currently sent to landfill and turns it into renewable energy. It also produces an organic fertiliser. The technology is proven and widely used across Europe.  Here are some questions and answers about AD and its potential use in Ireland.

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Developing Community Resilience

Co Monaghan was lucky to escape the worst effects of  last week’s storm that hit the whole country.  Developing community resilience is now regarded as important in helping deal with various types of emergencies that affect communities.

Floods at Lough Muckno

While we had a few fallen trees and slates from the recent storm, there was  unfortunately  the loss of of person’s life in the Midlands. For some people in other parts of Ireland there were power outages for a few days while others were left with no telephone or broadband services.   The utility companies and some local authority and emergency services staff had to come out in the adverse weather to respond to the urgent situations that had arisen.

So what happens if communities are faced with emergencies be they from a natural or manmade diaster.  A lot depends on the level of ‘community resilience’. ‘Cultivate’, the practical sustainability organisation, which is based in Cloughjordan, has been working on ways that community resilience can be developed.  Davie Philip of Cultivate defines community resilience as the capability of communities to hold together, learn, adapt and maintain their ability to function in response to change. These changes can be sudden or slowly evolving. Davie sees the biggest challenge being our mind-set. Most of us don’t realise that we are never more than three days from running out of food – except you might only have a few days extra in your cupboard.   Co-sufficiency rather than self-sufficiency is advocated. He sees the GIY (Grow it Yourself) movement and the increasing number of allotment projects as very welcome as they are examples of ways in which more people can have their own local food and also the skills to produce it – and so be more resilient. Developing community resilience can also be an enjoyable experience as people come together to share various skills and enjoy the fun and celebrations that form part of community projects.

The online UK book ‘Exploring Resilience in times of Rapid Change’ is a useful resource for communities looking at community resilience. It draws on the experience of emergency responses such as in the case of Hurricane Katrina in the US and explores the development of four key features of resilient communities: (1) healthy and engaged people. (2) an inclusive culture creating a positive sense of place.(3) a localising economy – towards sustainable food, shelter, housing shelter etc. (4) strong links to other places and communities.  In recent years the use of social media has also been found to be extremely useful in helping communities in emergency situations.

In emergencies, individuals and of course our national and local authorties also have  important roles to play. In a severe storm,  individuals and families can be without power for many days.  Heating and cooking become impossible or at least challenging for many of us. If we have a gas cooker or solid fuel stove (with no back boiler) it means we can boil some water. In order to be prepared for a storm it is advisable to have roof slates checked and also to a arrange for a professional assessment of tall trees that are near the house or roadside to see that  they are not likely to be blown down in a storm.  There are useful tips on tree safety in the ‘Roads / Severe Weather Information’ section of the  Cork Co Council website Detailed guidance on flooding can be found at while has useful guidance on dealing with adverse winter weather in the following contexts:  home, road safety, health matters, schools, farming community and businesses.  Businesses are directed to the Forfás document on ‘Business Continuity Planning in Severe Weather’.

The national authorities and volunteer support workers also play a major role in responding to emergencies. The website details the Irish Government’s plans for dealing with major emergencies. In the North East there is an inter-agency Regional Steering Group that has been formed for the Major Emergency Region of the North East.  Monaghan Co Council has details on emergency planning on its website (under Fire & Building Control Section) including the ‘Preparing for Major Emergencies handbook’. In relation to the threat of a nuclear incident the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland’s website ( describes the National Plan for Nuclear Emergencies.

The ‘Emergency Planning Society’ (www.the– is an international organisation of emergency planning professionals and it has a branch in Ireland.  Here in Ireland we also have our Civil Defence which in emergency situations supports Government agencies and the Emergency Services. It is a volunteer based organisation with 4,500 volunteers. For further details or to enquire about enrolling see

At various levels – be it at individual, family, community, business, local authority, national or international there is a need to have certain preparations in place to deal with emergencies. There are certain situations that we cannot prepare for. However there are ones, be they unexpected or slowly developing, that we can have certain strategies, plans, expertise, skills and resources in place to help our response ‘in the event of an emergency’.

Climate Justice Begins at Home

MEG member Liam Murtagh went along recently to a special seminar entitled ‘Climate Justice begins at Home’ – an event held to coincide with the Mary Robinson Foundation’s international conference in Dublin, ‘Hunger – Nutrition – Climate Justice 2013’   The seminar was organised by Friends of the Earth and Food Sovereignty Ireland.    


Cecilia Kibe from Kenya was just one of the many grassroots community members from the developing world who had travelled to the Dublin conference to represent their communities.  The conference aimed to focus the eyes of the world and in particular the attention of decision makers on the injustice of climate change – a situation in which the people who have not caused climate change are the ones who are suffering the most from its effects. At the seminar Cecilia described how climate change is being primarily caused by the burning of fossil coal and oil in the developed world and that it is setting back the efforts to address the Millenium Development Goals in the developing world. She outlined the impact of droughts on food production in East Africa and also the effects of land erosion which happens in certain areas when there are downpours following long periods of drought.

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Monaghan Ecological Group in Action on Local and International Front

One hundred young activists from across Europe, USA, Canada and Nigeria gathered recently in Lofoten, Norway, to exchange skills, motivate each other and support the local community in their campaign to prevent oil drilling off the stunningly beautiful Lofoten coast. Their message was clear – ‘keep the oil in the soil!’ Mícheál Callaghan, of Monaghan Ecological Group attended the event and reflects on what was an inspiring week at the Young Friends of the Earth gathering in the Arctic Circle.


Some of the participants of the recent Young Friends of the Earth Europe Summer Camp in Lofoten, Norway, carrying  the banner “No Oil In The Arctic”. Included in this picture is Mícheál Callaghan, co – founder of Monaghan Ecological Group.

The various participants, all of whom are involved are involved in different projects and actions in their home countries, are united by one goal, that of a fossil free, positive future for the planet and its citizens. Norway, a country of just over 5 million people, contributes 2 per cent of global carbon emissions from its large oil industry.

As well as partaking in a variety of skill sharing and planning workshops, participants heard inspiring stories from committed activists in their struggles against the powerful fossil fuel industry. Environmental Rights Action, from Nigeria, spoke of the mass violations of human rights and environmental laws caused by the fossil fuel industry’s exploitation of natural resources in Nigeria. Despite having the 31st highest GDP in the world, Nigerians have a life expectancy of only 47 years. The oil industry there is huge, with locals seeing few of the benefits. Due to corruption, a lack of education and extreme poverty, companies pay little attention to regulations, many of which are not enforced, leading to serious environmental damage. Participants were told how Nigeria loses 500,000 barrels of oil per day in spills, equivalent to 1 Exxon Valdez per year.

Nnimo Bassey, former chair of Friends of the Earth International, gave an emotional and rousing speech on Friday evening. He recalled fondly, a recent visit to Ireland, where he was impressed by the actions of the local communities in Rossport and Leitrim who are engaged in campaigns to stop gas extraction and fracking. Bassey stated that given the present knowledge and gravity of the climate situation, a new drill site is akin to a crime scene and must be seen as a crime against nature and the planet.

While some may be critical of the long journeys participants had to take in order to reach Lofoten, overall the benefit outweighed the negatives in terms of the motivation generated and networks created throughout the week.  It was great to see and be part of a growing movement of young people from around the world, who are committed to taking action at every level to avoid the worst case scenario of climate change and secure a better future. I left the camp with new ideas, insights and a lot of inspiration, that just maybe, with collective action, it might be possible to take on the giants of the fossil fuel industry!

To read more about the summer camp and the work of Friends of the Earth Europe go to  If you would like to contribute to a more positive, low carbon future for Monaghan, why not get involved with Monaghan Ecological Group? Look us up on Facebook or contact

The Evidence is in the Ice

MEG members Mícheál Callaghan and Liam Murtagh went along recently to a public screening of film Chasing Ice at the IFI Dublin. The film depicts the work of photographer James Balog and his team who captured changes in the Arctic Ice Caps using time lapse photography and video capturing of the ice caps over a number of years. The result is an unprecedented recording of the dramatic changes in the Arctic Ice Caps over recent years. The film provides compelling evidence that Climate Change is occurring, that it is the result of human activities and it is happening faster than previously expected.

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