03 Oct 2022

Grant plan for Offaly town's Carbon challenge voted down

Grant plant for Offaly town's Carbon challenge voted down

Edenderry Carbon Challenge is supported by the Chamber of Commerce

A PROPOSAL to award a grant of €13,322 for the Edenderry Carbon Challenge was voted down by a majority of members of Edenderry Municipal District at last week's meeting.

Edenderry Carbon Challenge was established by Edenderry Tidy Towns and supported by Edenderry Chamber of Commerce, Green Offaly and Craoi Laighean Credit Union.

In 2020 a call to fund projects under the Just Transition Process was announced. Edenderry Carbon Initiative and decided to make an application.

The intention behind the initiative was twofold. Firstly it sought to carry out an Energy Master plan and examine the needs in the town. Secondly it sought to carry out surveys on homes and businesses in the town in order to assess the works necessary to improve their energy rating. Support for this project had also been secured from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland who has grant aided €15,000 towards the initiative.

Under the Just Transition scheme, Edenderry Carbon Challenge was awarded €70,000 for their feasibility studies. This funding was subject to a match funding requirement of 15%. It had been envisaged that the funding secured from the S.E.A.I. could be used as the match funding element however this was not permitted. Following this Edenderry Tidy Towns applied to Offaly County Councils, Edenderry Municipal Committee for the match funding necessary.

At the meeting a proposal to award funding of €13,322 to the initiative was proposed by Cllr Noel Cribbin. and seconded by his colleague Cllr Liam Quinn. A counter proposal that sought to have households in Edenderry taking part in scheme make a contribution in lieu of a grant from Offaly County Council was proposed by Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick and seconded by Cllr John Foley.

Cllr Cribbin stated that in order to draw down the Just Transition funding the match funding was required now and could not be paid in retrospect as the surveys were being rolled out. He agreed that households participating in the scheme could make a contribution but this did not solve the immediate problem of the match funding being required sooner rather than later. Cllr Quinn stated that he felt this project was a positive one for Edenderry Town and if awarding €13,000 to the project resulted in a fund of over €80,000 being made available it represented value for money.

Following a discussion on the issue a vote took place. Cllrs Cribbin, Quinn and Hackett voted in favour of Cllr. Cribbin's proposal while Cllrs Fitzpatrick, Foley and McDermott voted in favour of Cllr Fitzpatrick's proposal. As the vote was tied the casting vote of the Chairman, Cllr Foley was required. The Chair voted as before for Cllr Fitzpatric'ks proposal thus defeating the proposal from Cllr Cribbin.

After the vote Cllr Cribbin expressed his disappointment that this proposal had been rejected, he stated that he would continue to seek funding to help keep this project alive as it represented a significant opportunity for the town of Edenderry.

“This project has the capacity to deliver hundreds of thousands of euro in funding under a future Just Transition application if we have the right information to back up our proposal. A well funded scheme could see grants of between 30-50% for homeowners wishing to undertake these works. Retrofitting houses and business in our town will bring investment and employment along with the obvious advantages of better air quality for everyone who lives here. The funding awarded to this initiative was the first step in that process that unfortunately has been set back by today’s events” Cllr. Cribbin concluded.

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