29th April 2021 | Green Gazette

Green Ministers launch a bike upcycling initiative, a school retrofitting programme and funding for local radio

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Ministers O’Brien and Ryan announce launch of €3 million Pilot Bike and E-Bike Upcycling Initiative

Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD have announced the launch of a three-year pilot initiative for the provision of high quality up-cycled bicycles and e-bikes for those on low incomes and/or those who are most marginalised and disadvantaged.

“This scheme will provide a vital transport option to those on limited incomes. Access to bikes and e-bikes can open up a whole range of new opportunities”, Minister O’Brien said, announcing the scheme.

“People will be able to travel further for work, to socialise, to engage with services or simply to enjoy cycling as an activity. In addition, this scheme will also provide training and employment opportunities for those who may have had difficulty accessing the mainstream labour market. An associated benefit of the scheme will be a reduction in the number of bikes going to landfill as a result of recycling and reusing bikes through the social enterprises engaged on the scheme.”

“I am delighted to provide €3m to fund this Pilot Bike Initiative,” Minister Ryan added. “It’s an innovative idea that makes economic, environmental and social sense. This is an important step towards fulfilling the commitment in the Programme for Government to widen the scope of the Bike to Work Scheme. It will make the purchase of a bike more accessible to those on lower incomes or outside employment, meaning that cycling will become a viable option for more people around Ireland.”

Minister Ryan announces opening of new €15 million ‘Additional Outdoor Infrastructure Fund’

Minister Ryan also this week announced the opening of a new €15 million ‘Additional Outdoor Infrastructure Fund’ to help ensure a Safe Outdoor Summer. The funding will support local authorities in enhancing outdoor urban space and improving walking and cycling infrastructure.

“While we continue our efforts with social distancing, we also need to provide ways for people to meet, exercise and access local amenities in a safe way, so we can all have a good summer”, Minister Ryan said. “Through a combination of government initiatives, local authorities will now have the resources required to help reimagine our cities, towns and villages so that they can prioritise outdoor living in the summer months. We want to facilitate local businesses and the public in making the most of our outdoor spaces so that recreational activities can be safe and enjoyed by all.” 

€14 million 2021 Schools Energy Retrofit Pathfinder Programme launched

Minister Ryan also this week launched a €14 million Pathfinder programme, which will demonstrate the approach to deep retrofit in the schools’ sector, testing energy efficiency solutions and renewable heat technology. The programme will target energy use and CO2 emission reduction by 50%, testing deep retrofit and low carbon heating solutions.

“Schools are at the centre of our communities and are where our children learn skills for their future. By ensuring that older schools undertake energy upgrades to become low-energy buildings, we can demonstrate the steps necessary to our children, and the wider community, while critically reducing running costs, emissions, and improving the comfort levels and learning environment in these vital buildings”, Minister Ryan said.

Minister Martin welcomes support for the Independent Commercial Radio Sector in new BAI funding round

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, this week welcomed the BAI announcement of the allocation of €2.58m to the independent commercial radio sector. Minister Catherine Martin provided €2.5m to the BAI in December for this purpose.

“I am very pleased that the BAI has put this round in place on foot of the €2.5m of funding I provided in recognition of the importance of the radio sector in Ireland, especially at local level”, Minister Martin said. “It will serve the dual purpose of both supporting our local and regional radio sector and raising public understanding of the evolving COVID-19 situation. With four-in-five adults in Ireland listening to the radio every day it is a valuable means of keeping citizens both informed and entertained.”

Minister Hackett Announces Open Call for Proposals for Woodland Support

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett has announced a public call for innovative projects which support and highlight the environmental, social and economic benefits of woodlands, forests and timber products.

“We have a relatively low level of woodland cover in Ireland compared to other European countries, so there is huge potential to develop and grow many more trees to enable us and future generations to enjoy their benefits,” Senator Hackett said. “Encouraging farmers to seriously consider planting all types of woodland is one important aspect of this initiative, while the introduction of a separate theme looking at the environmental benefits of forests is another. So I am really looking forward to seeing innovative projects, across all themes, which will highlight how, as a society, we can gain from sustainable woodland creation and management.”