Students See Ennis Becoming National ‘Green Mode’ Town in Ireland
TY Students from 4 Secondary Schools participated in the Ennis 2040 D.A.C. education and public consultation programme
Ennis, 24 April 2023: Transition Year students from Coláiste Muire have been crowned winners of the Ennis 2040 education and public consultation programme for their imaginative Vision for Ennis in 2040. Presenting on behalf of their classmates, Maya Hogan, Ciara Fitzpatrick, Amy Gibbons and Victoria Burns, impressed the judges with their vision for Ennis to become the first national ‘Green Mode’ town in Ireland.
Armed with lots of research, pilot tests and re-imagining how streets could be used, the students put forward their proposals on how and why more environmentally friendly modes of transport can be deployed in Ennis and suggested interventions like a Bike Library to support a cycle to school scheme.
The winners will now go on to present their sustainability ideas and vision for Ennis in 2040 to the Ennis Municipal District Councillors in the Council Chamber on 2nd May 2023.
The following week, in collaboration with Cllr. Clare Colleran Molloy, Mayor of Ennis, the entire class from Coláíste Muire will be given the unique opportunity to travel to Dáil Eireann to present their Vision for Ennis in 2040 to Minister Eamon Ryan, Minister Norma Foley and Oireachtas Members on 10th May 2023.
The presenting students from Coláiste Muire said, “As of right now, our research shows that Ennis has to improve its transport systems to more sustainable modes of transport. In 1997, Ennis became Ireland’s first and only Information Age Town. The town was greatly enhanced by the project’s IR£15 million investment, which saw 4,200 computers provided to residents. We think Ennis should think big again and try to become the national ‘Green Mode’ Town. Our students want to take action and work with Ennis 2040 to make Ennis the national leaders in climate action and sustainable transport to school in the town.”
Coláiste Muire beat stiff competition from Ennis Community College & Gaelcholáiste An Chláir, St. Flannan’s College and Rice College.
Kevin Corrigan, COO, Ennis 2040 DAC and head judge, said “We want to thank all the pupils, their TY coordinators, and secondary schools that took part in the competition. The panel was delighted with their enthusiasm and the creativity! They are going to have to live with the decisions we make today and they completely understand that sustainability is key. It was great to see how their ideas not only aligned to the Ennis 2040 strategy but also with the governments vision for where Ireland is going. They are ready embrace change and tackle how they use transport, recycle, promote the circular economy, and support biodiversity. Massive congratulations to the students at Coláiste Muire. We wish them the very best of luck in presenting their vision to the Councillors next week.”
Sean O’Neill, Director Communications of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said, “The students’ presentations were insightful, educational and future-looking. They had wonderful ideas on the behaviour change and mindset change required to make sustainable choices that will make such a difference to the quality of our lives and the environment.”
As part of the TY programme initiated by Ennis 2040 D.A.C. last year, almost 200 Transition Year students from four secondary schools across Ennis embraced the opportunity to have a voice and express their vision for Ennis in 2040. The students spent several months developing their projects under one or more categories namely; Transport, Food, Circular Waste, Biodiversity and Energy. Last week, students representing the four schools presented their vision for Ennis to a panel of judges in Council Chambers.
The judging panel included Kevin Corrigan and Claire Reilly, Ennis 2040, Pat Stephens, Limerick Clare Energy Agency, Clare County Council, Patrick Tiernan, Ennis Municipal District, Clare County Council and Sean O’Neill, TII. Students were judged on their survey structure, school action plan, participation and presentations.
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.