Four Transition Year students from Coláiste Muire, Ennis travelled to Dáil Eireann today to meet with various Ministers to present their vision to make Ennis Ireland’s first ‘Green Mode’ town.
Maya Hogan/Megan Hasset, Ciara Fitzpatrick, Amy Gibbons, Emma Dunlop and Aisling Hammond set out the vision they developed for Ennis in 2040 following months of research, surveys and pilot tests undertaken as part of a TY project organised by Ennis 2040 D.A.C. One startling statistic showed a reduction in CO2 emissions by 18,000g was recorded in one day after encouraging the entire school to ‘Walk to School Wednesday’.
The students previously presented their vision for Ennis to the Ennis Municipal District Councillors at Council Chambers on 2 May, giving them a unique opportunity to participate in local democracy and have their say on the future of their town. The visit to Dáil Eireann was organised thanks to the support of Cllr. Clare Colleran Molloy, Mayor of Ennis.
Presenting on behalf of their classmates, the students put forward their proposals on how and why more environmentally friendly modes of transport can be deployed in Ennis. They demonstrated how streets could be re-imagined and requested support in making interventions like a Bike Library and more cycle lanes available in Ennis. Their initial survey showed only 13.2% of students walked or cycled (green mode) to school.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said: “It is wonderful to see the students of Coláiste Muire in Ennis leading their community in making Ennis a ‘Green Mode’ town. This programme has provided the students with a wonderful opportunity to have their say and gain a great appreciation for how democracy works, while also grasping sustainable economic and spatial strategy concepts.
We know that over half of all journeys under 2km are made by car. If we are to cut carbon emissions, then we need to make the shift towards sustainable travel and the research from the students themselves shows the reduction in emissions by walking to school where possible. I wish them the best of luck as they continue their journey of educating their school community, with a view to changing mindsets and habits towards more sustainable lifestyles.”
Kevin Corrigan, COO, Ennis 2040 DAC said “I would like to thank the Ministers and Deputies for taking the time to meet with the students today, providing them with a powerful and unique opportunity to present their vision for the future of their town and what they see as key requirements for their future. This TY project aimed to encourage young people in Ennis to learn and engage in local democracy through active citizenship while looking at the actions they can take personally and as a school to become more sustainable in their everyday lives. Through the engagement of the students, teachers and schools the competition has become much more than we ever expected.”
Coláiste Muire were the ultimate winners of the Ennis 2040 TY programme where almost 200 transition year students from four schools were tasked with developing a vision for Ennis in 2040 while considering sustainable practices, energy sources, accessibility and transport. Coláiste Muire were announced winners this week after beating stiff competition from St Flannan’s College, Rice College and Ennis Community College & Gaelcholáiste An Chláir. A core focus of the Ennis 2040 TY programme was to encourage young people in Ennis to learn and engage with their local community and become participants in local democracy through active citizenship.
Ennis 2040 D.A.C. is responsible for implementation of the Ennis 2040 Economic and Spatial Strategy which was officially launched by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD on October 22nd, 2021. Ennis 2040 incorporates a wide range of economic, social and environmental considerations which provide a basis for targeted investment, balanced economic growth and a sustainable spatial pattern of development with quality of life at its core