European Movement Ireland ‘Meet Your Candidates’ public meeting, Radisson Blu, Athlone on Thursday evening; Pictured are [L-R] Michael O’Dowd, Daniel Keohane, EMI Head of Policy and Advocacy, Peter Casey, Patrick Greene, James Miller, Cyril Brennan, Anne Rabbitte TD, Mairead McGuinness, Brendan Smith TD, Fidelma Healy Eames, Martina Fitzgerald, Dominic Hannigan, Olive O'Connor and Lisa Nic an Bhreithimh, EMI Communications and Campaigns Manager. (Matt Carthy in attendance, not pictured)
Over 100 citizens are set to gauge where EU election candidates stand on key environmental and climate issues at a public debate.
The sold out event in the Bush Hotel in Carrick-On-Shannon on Friday, April 26 will see concerned citizens challenge candidates from across the political spectrum to outline their green credentials in advance of the upcoming European Elections.
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The event will be streamed live from the Environmental Pillar's Twitter page for those who cannot attend in person from 7pm to 8.30pm.
The event organised by the Environmental Pillar - a coalition of over 30 national environmental organisations - will also provide an opportunity for the candidates to set out their commitments and assurances with regard to protecting Ireland's fragile environment.
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Now, citizens will have the opportunity to directly signal to MEP candidates the ambition that they want to see at a European level, with climate change is set to be a hot topic as Europe needs a radical policy shift to cut emissions by 2050 to avert the worst climate impacts.
Sure to be hot on the attendees' list of questions are where candidates stand on forestry policy in Leitrim, the future of the carbon tax, the recent school strikes for climate and the Extinction Rebellion moment.
Confirmed candidates include: MEP Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein; MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Independent; Saoirse McHugh, Green Party; Cyril Brennan, People Before Profit; Dominic Hannigan, Labour Party and Peter Casey, Independent.
Biodiversity decline is also high on the agenda, with over 90 per cent of habitats in Ireland under pressure. Last year, international experts warned that two-thirds of European habitats now have an unfavourable conservation status.
Clearly, Europe needs a fundamental rethinking in terms of climate and biodiversity protection if the bloc is serious about protecting our future and our citizens will have their say on how our elected officials do so at the hustings later this month.
The event in the Bush Hotel will be moderated by Micheal O'Cinneide, a former Director in the Environmental Protection Agency.