Fitzgibbon Wants Tipperary to Lead Ireland’s Energy Transition

“One simple solution can immediately put money circulating into rural economies: Stop the waste of energy.” This was the key message of our campaign launch on Thursday evening of Tipperary Green Party.

Speaking at my campaign lauch on the theme of “Creating Rural Jobs and Investment”, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan spoke about his own roots in the Glen of Aherlow, and how he felt green economics can have a real impact on rural communities: “I commend Gearóid for stepping forward. The impact of community development work is limited unless our country gets strong political direction. He is as good a candidate as they get – he is doing in his real life what we are all talking about.”

A number of other of guests spoke, including Con Harrington. According to Con, “You get enthused by being involved. Gearóid has brought huge enthusiasm into our community – if the rest of Tipperary know what he has done, I’m sure they would back him. The more support he gets, the more attention will be paid to his message”

I also spoke on how locally owned energy can be turned into local invesment, “The exclusive focus on Foreign Direct Investment is ignoring the massive opportunity in cutting our country’s yearly €5.7billion spend on imported energy. In Tipperary that’s €300 million per year leaving the county. Our own local authority could easily tap into European Investment Bank funding to do this across the county, to be paid back over 15-20 years. We need our government to mandate our local authorities to do this. Tipperary should be leading here. For every 1 million spent on retrofit, 25 jobs are created.”

Gearóid Fitzgibbon's campaign team with Eamon Ryan
Gearóid Fitzgibbon’s campaign team with Eamon Ryan
Gearóid Fitzgibbon speaking at his campaign lauch
Gearóid Fitzgibbon speaking at his campaign lauch
Patrick Lambe, Gearóid Fitzgibbon and Eamon Ryan
Patrick Lambe, Gearóid Fitzgibbon and Eamon Ryan
Sean O'Farrell and Con Harrington
Sean O’Farrell and Con Harrington
Tippereary Jersey signed by Eamon Ryan
Tippereary Jersey signed by Eamon Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenny Tellstrom, Gearoid Fitzgibbon and Eamon Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In wrapping up we thanked everyone who had attended and helped out – and the event sponsors – The Apple Farm, Longways Cider, and the Green Sheep.

My final comment was “My motivation for standing in the election is to highlight the need to use energy as a driver of rural communities. We need to develop community energy initiatives. We should have a network of 200 or 300 energy co-operatives in Ireland, like what has developed in Germany. When Horace Plunkett went out with one or two staff in the1890s, within five or six years you had 400 or 500 agricultural co-operatives set up with almost 200,000 members. Our agriculture sector is missing this opportunity. Our own state or ICOS are not backing it. For most of Tipperary’s towns and villages, there is no recovery to keep going, and Richard Bruton will never come and cut a ribbon announcing the latest arm of Google or Linked In. We need local solutions.”

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Eamon Ryan in Tipperary Town for Fitzgibbon Campaign Launch

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan, will officially launch the Tipperary Green
Party candidate, Gearóid Fitzgibbon’s election campaign on Thursday 11th February in the Excel Theatre, Tipperary Town at 7.30pm. Join the facebook event by clicking here !

Gearóid is asking that people to come along for an engaging evening on how green policies can improve the rural economy and society.

Earlier in the day there is a coffee morning at 10.30am at Country Choice in Nenagh, where there will be an opportunity to meet Gearóid and discuss the policies he is putting forward. More info available on the facebook page www.facebook.com/TipperaryGreens

Wednesday saw Gearóid on Tipp Mid West talking about tackling political cronyism and talking to students in LIT Thurles.

speaking at LIT
With Michael and Lucy of Voicebox at LIT
Unloading timber at Pattis
Unloading timber donated by Sean O’Farrell of Cloncannon Biofarm

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan will launch the campaign on the theme of “Creating Rural Jobs and Investment”

Fitzgibbon says that “The Irish public has become cynical about politics. The trend towards electing independents is part of this. Through the taxpayers funded constituency office, independent TDs build a pool of support based on personal favours, but have nothing to contribute for a long term vision for our country. I am asking the voters to look at our ideas on how to produce jobs and investment for the county. My ideas on cutting Tipperary’s 300 million bill on imported energy will produce quality new jobs and local investment.”
Tipperary Greens are not funded from the public purse. Their crowdfunding campaign is available on www.gofundme.com/greeningtipp  or by calling 0838109522.

No Going back now - handing the nomination papers to Returning Officer Gerard Connolly
No Going back now – handing the nomination papers to Returning Officer Gerard Connolly
Mike Fitzgibbon (Clonmel) signing the nomination papers
Mike Fitzgibbon (Clonmel) signing the nomination papers

Gearóid tops election crowdfunding

Tipperary Election candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon has topped the poll of Irish election candidates using crowdfunding to pay for their campaign.

Who is topping the poll?
Who is topping the poll?

An Irish Times article published on Monday February 8th, listed the Irish election candidates who had used the internet to raise election funds.

According to Fitzgibbon, he was surprised that, at the date the list was compiled (Feb 3rd), he was the second highest funded campaign at €2230. Paul Murphy of the AAA was highest with €2438, with the former Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power at €2200.

“I have been very lucky to gain the contributions of friends, family and green supporters. 45 people have donated an average of €50 each over the last month. Unlike Murphy and Power, I don’t currently earn a TD/Senator’s wage & expenses of €200k/year. Also unlike Murphy, my campaign is not funded by the taxpayer – as the greens are currently not represented in the Dáil. I have set a modest budget of €3600 to run the campaign – a target which I am still hoping to reach. This is still just 10% of the maximum allowable budget for a General Election Campaign. Anyone wishing to contribute can just go on www.gofundme.com/greeningtipp  “

Tipperary can reflect on its choice of Leadership

Gearóid wants leadership on energy
Gearóid wants leadership on energy

Ahead of our 2016 election campaign launch on February 11th, I am asking voters in Tipperary to reflect on the type of leadership that they want in the new and unified county.

The re-unification of the county offers an exciting opportunity for Tipperary to make a fresh start. Tipperary should take up once again the position of leadership in Irish political and cultural life – to match its performance on the sports field.

Irish voters tend to select their representatives to their national parliament on the basis of personal favours. The neglects any considerations of where the country is going, and is what has made our politics such a failure over  the last 15 years.

Regretably, Tipperary has come to embody this trend over the last few years, against the county’s own better tradition of leadership in Ireland. You only have to think of Tipperary’s central role in the national movement – when Ernie O’Malley, Sean Treacy and Dinny Lacy were on the run during the War of Independence, it was the homes of Tipperary that kept them going – the people in those safe houses, were the backbone of the Irish independence movement. At great personal risk, they put themselves on the line for the long term future of their country.

Tipperary has also been central to other organisations for example  the GAA, the pioneering community self-help group Muintir na Tíre, among others.

I am asking Tipperary to take up its attitude of leadership again, to look at where they want the state to go rather than what they can extract from the state.

I am delighted that Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan will formally launch our campaign at the Excel Centre in Tipperary at 7.30pm on Thursday 11th February. All are welcome. Eamon’s own own forebears hail from the Glen of Aherlow.

“I am delighted that Tipperary is putting forward such a strong local candidate. There is a space for a strong rural Green voice which can positively influence issues of planning and the rural economy. I think the electorate will be interested in Gearoid’s views on local energy and other matters”

Further details of Tipperary Green campaign launch and policies are available on their facebook page www.facebook.com/TipperaryGreens and campaign blog www.gfitzgibbon.wordpress.com  Tipperary Greens are not funded from the public purse. Their crowdfunding campaign is available on www.gofundme.com/greeningtipp  or by calling 0838109522.

Action Needed on Town Centres

Gearóid at Market Place in Clonmel
Gearóid at Market Place in Clonmel

The politics of facilitating developers means that the state serves those who shout the loudest or who are best connected, instead of what is best for the public. It also leads to bad decisions about where to site housing or services with consequences clear from the recent floods.
On Saturday January 23rd, Tipperary Greens engaged in a canvass at Clonmel Farmers’ Market with election candidate Gearóid Fitzgibbon. Businessman and founder of Longways Cider, James O’Donoghue said that the team found people were very receptive, raising issues which included support for small farmers and local food producers. After the canvass, local members took me on a tour of the town centre and Market Place Shopping Centre. This large retail development anchored around a Super Valu (formerly Superquinn) outlet, shut last week with the loss of over 40 jobs – another loss of jobs in the market place area, where previously many businesses employed in excess of 100 people.

High rates and parking charges, along with a lack of footfall are contributing to this town centre’s demise and the issues affecting Clonmel are similar to those in other parts of the county where the over-supply of edge of town shopping (which benefit from easy access and free parking), squeezes the lifeblood from the town centres.

Unless we want our town centres to become ghost towns, local authorities must rebalance the scales in favour of town centres and small locally owned businesses. This can be done by make rates fairer and reducing parking charges, which are in effect a penalty on centre of town business. Parking charges and high commercial rates helped address local authorities lack of income as a result of the scrapping of local rates as an election stunt in 1977. With property tax now funding local authorities, it is overdue time to review parking charges and the rates system.
“In the longer term” says Con Traas, local Green Chair, “Tipperary Greens are seeking to fundamentally change attitudes to development. The current model favours larger over smaller, and multinational over local business, and all the while too many politicians seem prepared to vote in favour of any development which might lead to a ribbon-cutting event that gets their pictures in the paper. Councils need to actively reverse this, as well as increasing the provision of quality housing in and close to our historic and beautiful town centres.”

The Greens are the only party in the country with a clear record on planning. We have consistently opposed the kind of bad planning which puts houses, shops and services in the wrong places and creates a car dependant culture. Good urban planning creates human scale towns, with housing near shops and services.
Stay up to date on our campaign on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TipperaryGreens
Tipperary Greens are not funded from the public purse. For this reason, we have a crowdfunding campaign to be able to participate in this election. Supporters can go to http://www.gofundme.com/greeningtipp to make a contribution or click on the badge on the top right of this screen.