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Environment, Climate Change & Agriculture

Climate and Biodiversity Subcommittee

In 2021, Mayo County Council set up the Climate & Biodiversity Subcommittee following the declaration of a Climate and Biodiversity emergency in January 2021. The members of this committee include elected councillors and representatives from a cross-section of society such as business, youth, farming, community groups, and expertise.

Name Reason for sitting on sub-committee Areas of interest and hopes for the sub-committee

Cllr. Blackie Gavin

Chair of Climate, Environment and Emergency Services SPC

I am passionate about creating a better quality of life in Mayo communities, with people leading the way. My hope is that through this subcommittee we can assist communities in taking climate action in their local area, through actions such as retrofitting, biodiversity projects, and active travel. 

Cllr. Mark Duffy

Mayo County Councillor, representing the Ballina Municipal District. 

I am passionate about Mayo becoming energy independent, enabling every home to be able to create their own energy and to break down barriers to allow homeowners to retrofit their homes. I’m also passionate about Biodiversity and how we can create new green spaces in our towns and villages. There is also a significant opportunity for Mayo to redefine urban transport, enabling households and communities to be connected to schools and workplaces with safe walking and cycling infrastructure. 

I’m looking forward to playing my part in improving the climate and biodiversity of Mayo in a proactive way that works for everyone in our county. 

Cllr. Christy Hyland

I am a member of Mayo County Council, representing Westport in the Municipal district.

I am mainly interested in water pollution, s rise, and the threat to coastal communities, the expansion of our rail network & green spaces in our towns.

Cllr. Donna Sheridan

Castlebar MD representative

I am passionate about all areas of climate and biodiversity, and I hope the subcommittee achieves all aims set out by the committee. I feel we need to encourage people to look at their purchase patterns with a view towards sustainability. I see move towards, up cycling, purchasing pre worn clothes, household items etc and I believe this is something to be encouraged. This has a twofold benefit, as in many cases people save money, but we have less waste as hopefully less fast fashion in both apparel and household purchases.

Cllr. Neil Cruise

Claremorris MD representative


Cliona M Boland BL

I am a Barrister based in Ballina and I am a committee member of Ballina Chamber of Commerce. I sit on the Environment, Climate Action, Agriculture & Emergency Services SPC (Strategic Policy Committee) in Mayo County Council representing Business. I was co-opted to the Climate & Biodiversity sub-committee as Business representative.

I have always been interested in Recycling, reducing Waste, proper waste management, and education around the environment. Lately, I am encouraged by the movement towards reducing or banning single-use plastics and the resurgence of the circular economy, which is what our ancestors and older generations were accustomed to and quite skilled at, in towns and on farms. I am passionate about bringing more awareness to recycling and reduction of waste in the first place. I'm also interested in educating younger generations on nature-loss and habitat protection, even in urban areas! 


I hope the sub-committee is effective at scoping out the correct policies we need RIGHT NOW, listening to all interested parties, and then implementing a plan. Personally, I hope that includes a focus on educating everyone in our community so that we 'think before we use/buy' because we are the last generation that has the chance to overturn the current trajectory and take the pressure off Mayo's precious and beautiful natural resources. 

John Davitt

IFA environmental representative on the committee

My hope for the committee is to create a greater understanding of the positive role that Irish farmers play in providing sustainable food production and that in recent years farmers have spent 2.5 BN ensuring that their farm's conform to the highest environmental standards and have the most emission efficient food production systems in Europe.

Bridget Murphy

Representative from Farm Organisation, Talamh Beo.

Talamh Beo is passionate about how land is used and farmed in a way that works with nature, regenerating soils and ecosystems to thriving. When ecosystems are healthy and thriving, the results are healthy and nutrient dense food, thriving communities and a healthy local economy. The thriving ecosystems also deliver clean air and water, habitat and food for biodiversity and adaptation / mitigation against the effects of climate disruption e.g., Flooding, drought etc.

We would like to see the committee engage farmers in real actions and solutions for climate and biodiversity regeneration. As Mayo has lots of High Nature Value land and carbon-rich soils, farmers and the county can only benefit from investing in the quality and quantity of its natural capital stocks.

Stephaine Cook

Coordinator of Mayo Comhairle na nÓg

I hope to support the voice of young people on the committee through the inclusion of members of Mayo Comhairle na nÓg (Youth Council) and assist them in bringing the opinions of the wider youth community in Mayo to the Climate and Biodiversity Subcommittee.

Mohammad Naeem 

Youth Representative from Mayo Comhairle na nÓg

I am really passionate about all the topics within climate change from recycling to biodiversity! I really hope this committee shows how young people can be involved in decision-making committees at a local level where they can input their ideas! Mayo County Council is one of the first councils to introduce a youth representative on a council committee and I am one of the youngest people to ever sit on a council committee it is great to see how my local council is actively trying to involve young people. I really hope the committee makes some real change in Mayo; we have already done so much work!

Máirín Harding

I'm Sitting as a Mayo Comhairle na nÓg representative

I'm passionate about making change for the better when it comes to climate change. We need to change the mindsets of our society. I'm here to be the voice for the youth of Mayo and to encourage them to become climate activists

Dr Orla Nic Suibhne

I was invited to join as the community energy representative and was delighted to join as there are 25 SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) in Mayo. As the SEC mentor for SEAI in Mayo, I am involved in guiding the communities through their low-carbon journeys. 

Data shows that approximately 62% of all of our GHG emissions are caused by energy consumption. There is an urgent need to decarbonise our heat, transport and electricity sectors. Our Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) programme started in 2015 and we have 540 communities signed up to the SEAI network. My hope for the sub-committee is lots of demonstration with low carbon projects, dissemination of the benefits of low carbon, and educational opportunities to all of the communities in Mayo! I am passionate about our Net Zero by 2050 target.

Dr. Margaret O’Riordan

I represent the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology on this sub-committee. I am a Lecturer in Human Geography in GMIT Mayo, and I am also involved in research with colleagues in GMIT’s Marine and Fresh Water Research Centre on attitudes to implementation of agri-environmental schemes.

I am passionate about peatlands as I completed my own PhD research on peatlands conservation policy in Ireland. When peatlands are restored, they provide a multitude of benefits to biodiversity and regulation of climate, as well as a host of other environmental services. I hope this sub-committee achieves real progress on helping to address the serious challenges of biodiversity loss and climate breakdown.

Martin Keating

Head of Environment, Climate Change and Agriculture

I am passionate about empowering communities and every citizen of Mayo to engage in activities that assist Climate Action and increase biodiversity. I believe that this subcommittee through collaboration and leading by example can inspire us all to put Climate Action front and centre of our workplaces, communities and homes.

Laura Dixon

Mayo County Council Climate Action Officer

Improved health, improved quality of life, stronger communities, increased biodiversity are just some of the benefits of acting on climate change and I hope that through this subcommittee we can assist communities, businesses and individuals throughout Mayo to take action and benefit from a low carbon and climate resilient future.

Deirdre Cunningham

Heritage Officer, Mayo County Council

I am passionate about continuing to support communities to engage with and make more space for nature in their local areas ( I hope the subcommittee will raise awareness of the importance of mainstreaming biodiversity.

Linda Beirne

Local Enterprise Office with Mayo County Council

Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Mayo offers a range of supports to help businesses become more competitive, expand their market base and improve the overall efficiency of their businesses. This year, the LEOs nationally launched a Green for Micro programme aimed at helping small businesses prepare for the low carbon, more resource efficient economy of the future. The initiative can help a business owner increase cost savings, improve resource efficiency, reduce their environmental footprint and add additional value to products and services. The work of the sub-committee can help promote the various supports and initiatives currently on offer to help businesses become more sustainable and environmentally aware.

Cathy Mellett

Senior Executive Engineer Roads Services – Active Travel

I am passionate about Active Travel and introducing more active travel spaces to Mayo. I hope the subcommittee will raise awareness of the importance of active travel in mitigating climate change and hope we can also highlight the positive effect active travel has on both mental and physical health.


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