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Stephen Mullins

Phase 1 of new GAA Green Club Programme for Stephenites   04/01/2021

Ballina Stephenites GAA Club is one of 45 clubs along with two regional venues, selected to participate in Phase One of a new GAA Green Club programme launched Wednesday, December 9th, 2020.

Delighted to announce their participation in Phase 1 of the new GAA Green Club Programme which has been initiated as part of the GAA’s work as an Irish Champion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Association was selected by the Department of Communication , Climate action and Environment in 2019.

In keeping with the goals, Sport is seen as an important enabler of sustainable development.

 

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. It will see clubs explore a range of sustainability projects designed to enrich their physical and social environments. The Ballina Stephenites GAA Club is focusing primarily on the Biodiversity theme but will not be limited to this area of work.


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.”


The Club has also been fortunate enough to partner with The Mary Robinson Centre as one of the many Communities uniting to develop Ballina as Irelands Greenest Town.

 

Fran Downey MacKeever, Healthy Club Officer in Ballina Stephenites GAA Club said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting new initiative developed by the GAA, we hope to achieve some meaningful Green Goals that will not only future-proof our club but will also position it as a sustainable leader within our community and help it to become a sustainable, environmentally conscious place for everyone to enjoy. We are even more excited to have the opportunity to partner with The Mary Robinson Centre and be part of the community development and participatory process in making Ballina Irelands Greenest Town.”



Expert Partners

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.







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