Cobh & Harbour Chamber predicts busy year ahead as Ireland ramps up plans to build a more sustainable future

In a week which sees advanced discussions taking place at Cobh & Harbour Chamber regarding the establishment of a Sustainability Council at the Chamber, Vice-President Colin Morehead reflects on four announcements made in the first 25 days of 2024 which he says highlights the impact climate change will have on the agenda for businesses and communities across the length and breadth of Ireland this year as the Irish Government in particular ramps up its activity and support in helping Ireland achieve its ambitious climate targets.

First out of the blocks was the announcement by Minister Eamon Ryan of a €27million fund for Community Climate Action specifically targeted at local organisations working to build low carbon communities. The landmark climate funding programme, which will be administered by local authorities, can provide amounts of up to €100,000 to larger local projects over an 18-month period. “Groups who are interested in applying should contact Cork County Council and request to speak to the Community Climate Action Officer who will help interested applicants with their application and provide guidance on the programme, helping to match local action with suitable funding.” says Morehead.

The second announcement relates to the National Cycling Network which will see 3,500 kilometres of safe bike corridors connecting 2.8m people in cities and towns across the country. Morehead highlighted how the benefit of cycling in terms of a regular exercise program are well known and if we are to reduce our overall carbon footprint. “We must look at the most appropriate mode of transport for some of our journeys. However, the provision of safe bike corridors to aid individuals make the decision to cycle is critical” he said.

Thirdly we saw the opening of a consultation on the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Future Framework Policy Statement. The Future Framework is the long-term model and vision for offshore renewable energy in Ireland and sets out the pathway Ireland will take to deliver 20GW of offshore wind by 2040 and at least 37GW by 2050. Cork Harbour will have a role to play as the Offshore Wind Delivery Taskforce has a dedicated workstream focussed on helping the development of offshore wind infrastructure to maximise the use of five Irish commercial State ports to include the Port of Cork.

Finally last Friday we saw the news via the Irish Examiner that ESB Networks have lodged a planning application for its first major hydrogen project in Cork which it says can play a critical role in Ireland achieving net zero in the coming years.

Chamber President Toddy Stafford added “We look forward to announcing plans as to how Cobh and Harbour Chamber plan to support its members as we all transition to a more sustainable future in the weeks and months ahead.”