The Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership has elected Siobhán Egan from BirdWatch Ireland to be its representative on the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). She was elected by the 27 member organisations that constitute the Pillar, and will now be the only environmental sector representative out of the total of 9 Irish representatives. The other four pillars of Social Partnership, namely community and voluntary, farming, employers and trade unions are also represented. In her role as the Environmental Pillar representative she will feed in the views of all the member organisations of the Environmental Pillar to the work of the EESC.
Michael Ewing, Environmental Pillar Coordinator says that, ‘We are pleased to have a place on the EESC as this addresses a serious imbalance in the formation of European level policy. Europe faces significant environmental challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss and the energy crisis which are all further compounded by the economic crisis. Opportunities exist in the development of sustainable green jobs and Ireland stands to gain economically if it rises to the challenge of sustainable landuse. The inclusion of the Environmental Pillar on the EESC is part of achieving a truly sustainable future where social, economic and environmental pillars of society all play a role in determining both Europe’s and Ireland’s future.’
Siobhán Egan, the new Irish Environmental Pillar Representative on the EESC says that ‘The Pillar has a range of expertise relating to the work of the EESC including social and economic issues which are underpinned by natural resource use and the health of our natural environment. Clearly there will be a need for the Pillar and the other 8 Irish representatives to work well together, as well as with our counterparts from other Member States, so that we can progress the work of the EESC and benefit Ireland and Europe – we look forward to that.’
As social partners the Environmental Pillar is entitled to a place on the European Economic and Social committee (EESC), along with representatives of the other pillars. The Environmental Pillar has been working to engage with other sectors and ensure local, national and European level representation of the environmental sector since its formation as agreed by Cabnet and invited by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen in April 2009.