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30 Nov 2021

Can you sea me now? Offaly councillor joins meeting from ship

Can you sea me now?  Offaly councillor joins meeting from ship

A picture of the North Channel tweeted byMinister Pippa Hackett (inset, with her husband, Cllr Mark Hackett)

IN what must be a first for the council in Offaly, a councillor 'attended' his monthly Municipal District meeting from a ship.

Cllr Mark Hackett was on a ferry crossing from Scotland during Wednesday's meeting of the Edenderry Municipal District.

In line with Covid-19 guidelines, the meeting was held by Zoom and the six councillors made their contributions remotely.

After contributing to the meeting for a short period earlier, Cllr Hackett rejoined later and stated that he wished to “say a couple of things now because I'm on a boat”.

The connection with the Green Party councillor was then briefly lost, prompting Cllr Noel Cribbin to joke: “You're gone under!”

District chair, Cllr Liam Quinn, laughed and said: “Have we a man overboard?”

The connection with Cllr Hackett was then immediately restored and the Geashill organic farmer explained that he was on his way back from the COP26 summit in Glasgow, having been there since Sunday.

“It was very interesting,” said the councillor. “It was very relatable to what is going on in Offaly because the big issues were all about renewable energy, peat restoration, carbon storage, all those things which are very topical in Offaly at the moment.

“So hopefully action will be taken on climate change going forward by all the countries involved.”

Cllr Quinn responded: “I hope you made the point in Scotland that bogs don't particularly help councils build roads.”

Cllr Hackett was accompanied at COP26 by his wife, Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture.

Earlier this week Senator Hackett revealed that she was travelling to the climate summit by electric car and ferry.

She drove to the port of Larne and took the boat across to Scotland for the international conference.

Speaking in a video message recorded while walking along a Glasgow street, the Geashill-based representative said she had made a “low emissions” journey to the event.

“The trip went really well and it's really great to see so many charge points here in Scotland,” she said.

She reported that she had met the New Zealand climate minster James Shaw.

“There are many similarities between our countries, particularly in relation to agriculture and land use, and we'll continue to work closely together as we address our emissions challenges,” said Senator Hackett.

She also met a number of “green parliamentarians from across the world, from Kenya to Venezuela, and closer to home from the UK and Europe”.

She also held talks with Karen Ross, the secretary of agriculture in California, remarking that she had been “really looking forward to meeting another female politician in agriculture”.

In a further meeting the minister, who has responsibility for land use and biodiversity, spoke to Lorna Slater, the Scottish minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity.

The junior minister also visited an organic farm in Scotland which has been operating a 'calf at foot' model for five years where “top notch cheese, ice cream rose veal” are produced.

At 'The Ethical Dairy' farm, calves remain with their cows to suckle, unlike traditional farms where the new-borns are removed within a couple of hours.

On her way to Scotland, she tweeted a message while her car was plugged into a charging point: “Just getting the final bit of charge in before we head to the ferry port here in Larne. Looking forward to a good few days at COP26 in Glasgow. We're here to make a difference, let's do that.”

About 200 countries are represented at COP26, an annual summit which seeks international agreement on ways of fighting climate change and global warming.

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