Clare festivals go green

Clare festivals go green

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11 community festival and event organisers have been selected to participate in an innovative training programme inspired by the success of the Green Fleadh, an environmental initiative rolled out to 450,000 visitors during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

The selection of 11 festivals follows a series of introductory training sessions for event organisers on how to minimise the environmental impact of such events by reducing waste, carbon emissions, and water and energy use.

The Green Festival Ambassador and Leader programme is an initiative of Clare Tourism and is 100% funded by Clare Local Development Company through the LEADER programme.  The programme, which is the first if its kind in the country, is supported by Clare County Council, Limerick Clare Energy Agency, Clare Volunteer Centre, Southern Waste Region and Green Hospitality.

The selected festivals are the Kilmurry Harvest Festival, Clare Garden Festival, Clarecastle Regatta & Clarecastle Tidy Towns, Great Irish Garden, Doolin Festivals, Bodyke Festival, Kilrush Traditional Music Festival, Mountshannon Arts Festival, Fleadh Cheoil An Chláir, Lissycasey Music Festival and Festival of Finn.

The festivals selected will benefit from localised Green Festival Ambassador training after which additional in-depth training will be provided to identified Green Leaders.  Training will be delivered by Raquel Noboa and Samantha Harding of Elevate Clare.

Maurice Walsh, Chair of Clare Tourism said, “This programme will train community festival organisers in a range of skills that will establish credibility in green festivals and enable the various festivals to address the challenges associated with becoming more environmentally sustainable. Clare Tourism, supported by Clare Local Development Company through the LEADER programme, is delighted to be playing its part in helping to reduce the environmental impact of events that attract large gatherings of people in one location.”

Pat Stephens, Manager of the Limerick Clare Energy Agency (LCEA), explained that training in benchmarking and Greenhouse Gas calculation to Green Leaders “will help quantify the effectiveness of the greening festival/event being greened.  This type of training will help motivate festivals year on year. In addition, the knowledge, skills and experience gained by the trainees will be retained locally for future festivals and development.”

Karen Foley, Environmental Awareness Officer, Clare County Council, commented, “While guidelines for greening of festivals are very helpful, community groups need engagement and support through focussed training. This training also will result in a support network where groups can continue to share experiences beyond the training programme.”

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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