My role as Ministerial adviser

The Irish Independent is making a deal out of the fact that I and other Green Party activists have been appointed by John Gormley as advisors. 

I think I should put what I consider to be my qualifications for the job on the record.  The following is from my letter to John Gormley asking him to consider me for an advisor role, and will also be laid before the Oireachtas as required for all advisor appointments.     
With reference to my qualifications as an advisor:

I have a degree in Law and a M.Sc. in Environmental Science, both from TCD.

As a County Councillor (1991-1999 and 2004-date) I have been involved in bringing about and overseeing the implementation of planning specifications for reduced energy demand in Fingal, involving negotiations, networking and cooperation with public servants, stakeholders and politicians.  I have also worked on energy issues through the Fingal Development Board, which is likely to lead to the appointment of an Energy Officer within Fingal County Council with a remit of developing a Climate Change Strategy for the Council.  I would bring a keen awareness of the potential for the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to facilitate progress in and through local government.

I have worked as a planning and environmental consultant, on various cases, including many of the major environmental battles of the last 10 years, gaining experience of the operation of the planning system and the EPA, as well as of the legal framework within which they operate and of the Courts and a wide knowledge of the environmental movement.

I have been active in both Feasta and Friends of the Irish Environment on policy issues, including lobbying and making submissions to the DoEHLG and other Departments and Agencies. This has been in relation to a wide range of issues, but in particular the implementation of EU Directives, the operation of planning and environmental licensing systems, energy and climate change policies.  I have also been involved in making many complaints to the EU Commission in relation to non-implementation of EU environmental law in Ireland.

I have led an EPA-funded research project for Feasta on the sustainability assessment of road projects, and been co-author of a number of briefing papers commissioned by Comhar, on Aarhus issues, transport policy, subsidies to fossil fuels etc.

As a Director of the ENGO Core Funding network, I engaged with DoEHLG and with all of the national environmental NGOs, in particular in devising and negotiating the funding allocation system for NGOs.

As a member of Comhar, representing ENGOs, I worked on a range of sustainability issues, engaging with all stakeholders, including DoEHLG officials, in order to have effective input into the policy-making process.  

I was the Comhar representative on the Monitoring Committee for the Economic and Social Infrastructure Operational Programme, (While I failed in my main objective of getting the greenhouse gas impact of the roads programme measured it did give useful insights in to interdepartmental / interagency dynamics.)

I have represented Irish ENGOs as a lobbyist at intergovernmental conferences of the UNFCCC and the Commission on Sustainable Development and thereby gained a familiarity with the international environmental and sustainability policy processes.  I was on the editorial committee of the NGO network Earth Summit Ireland, which published the book “Telling It Like It Is; Ten years of unsustainable development in Ireland” for the 2002 WSSD in Johannesburg.