Press Release: Right to Know, Right to Act: Your rights as an European Citizen by Environmental Pillar in Galway

Immediate Release
The Environmental Pillar will hold a seminar in Galway with Independent MEP Marian Harkin on Friday, 26 May 2017 to highlight Irish people’s rights to access information as EU citizens.
The interactive seminar – Right to Know, Right to Act: Your rights as a European Citizen – will take place at the Harbour Hotel Galway from 1PM to 4PM.
The Environmental Pillar is made up of 26 national environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who work together to represent the views of the Irish environmental sector.
The Environmental Pillar creates and promotes policies that advance sustainable development and acts as an advocacy coalition promoting sustainable solutions in areas such as climate change, biodiversity, tree-cover, resource efficiency, transport, planning and water.
MEP for the new Midlands-North-West constituency Marian Harkin will lead an interactive discussion and field questions from the audience. This is a great opportunity to directly engage with an MEP on local, national and European environmental issues.
Investigative journalist Niall Sargent will also guide attendees on how they can use national and European laws to make official requests to access information on the environment as laid out in the Aarhus Convention.
The Aarhus Convention upholds the right of every person to have access to information about the environment, the right to participate in decision-making, and the right of access to justice in environmental matters.
The seminar will also include an introduction to the EU and an overview of European environmental policy from Francis Jacobs, a retired senior official at the European Parliament headquarters in Ireland.
The Environmental Pillar’s Justin Byrne will also provide an introduction to the Circular Economy.
The event is free of charge and tickets are available on Eventbrite:
Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar, said:
“In a democracy, people have the right to know and should have easy access to information.
‘You might be looking for information about a development activity in your area, or trying to participate in a planning decision-making process, or simply trying to find out if the river you swim in every summer is polluted.
“Public participation helps make decision-makers more accountable and environmental decision-making more transparent. In the past, it has often been denied or avoided in the interest of economic, political and sometimes social policies.
“Our right to access relevant information and to participate is upheld in European law, and we hope that after this event, attendees will be more aware of their rights.”

Media Contact  
Niall Sargent
Communications Manager
Environmental Pillar

Notes for Editor:
About the Environmental Pillar:
The Environmental Pillar is a national social partner, comprising 26 national environmental organisations.  It works to promote the protection and enhancement of the environment, together with the creation of a viable economy and a just society, without compromising the viability of the planet on which we live for current and future generations of all species and ecosystems. For more information, please see our website.
Member Organisations of the Environmental Pillar:
An Taisce, Bat Conservation Ireland, BirdWatch Ireland, Centre for Environmental Living and Training, Cloughjordan Ecovillage, CoastWatch, Coomhola Salmon Trust, ECO-UNESCO, FEASTA, Forest Friends, Friends of the Earth, Global Action Plan, Gluaiseacht, Good Energies Alliance, Green Foundation Ireland, Green Economy Foundation, Irish Wildlife Trust, Hedge Laying Association of Ireland, Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Irish Seed Savers Association, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Native Woodland Trust, Sonairte, Sustainable Ireland Cooperative (Cultivate), The Organic Centre, VOICE, Zero Waste Alliance.