Sinn Féin’s Darren O’Rourke TD and Senator Lynn Boylan today published proposals for a dedicated fund to expand the number of public parks and native woodland cover across the state.
Increasing the number of public parks, green areas and native woodland cover can help sequester carbon dioxide, enhance air quality, improve peoples’ physical health and mental well-being and protect our biodiversity.
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD said:
“During the pandemic many people realised the huge benefit their local public park or woodland offered for recreation, but it also highlighted to many others the total lack of such amenities in their community.
“The Celtic Tiger era of developer-led construction and poor planning left us many areas with dense residential development but with little or no public green areas.
“Incorporating areas covered by grass, trees and vegetation into our communities can deliver significant benefits in terms of health, exercise, well-being, socialisation, pollution, and biodiversity.
“Therefore, Sinn Féin are proposing a €10m ‘Ciste Beithe’ (translated ‘Birch Fund’), a dedicated public park and woodland fund, which would allow local authorities apply for funding to help assist in the purchase or development of parcels of land for use as public parks and green areas. No such fund exists currently. Ciste Beithe will complement and enhance CLÁR and LEADER funding and will address an important funding gap.
Spokesperson on Climate Justice, Senator Lynn Boylan said:
“Just 2% of Ireland is covered in native woodland, which is one of the lowest levels across Europe.
“Dedicated funding for the protection and expansion of our native woodland cover can help sequester carbon dioxide, enhance air quality and protect our biodiversity.
“Our proposals would also allow ENGOs, like the Native Woodland Trust, apply for assistance in purchasing areas of native woodlands in order to protect them, buy adjoining lands for natural expansion of these woodlands, or fund the purchase of new sites for afforestation.
“Publicly accessible woodlands can deliver significant benefits for people’s health and wellbeing. It’s a win-win for the communities and the environment.”