Green Skibbereen – A new centre for climate action in West Cork

Green Skibbereen CLG has announced plans to launch a major initiative in early 2021 for climate action and sustainability in West Cork when the group will announce it’s proposal for a new Centre of Excellence for Climate Action Sustainability in West Cork. The group are currently pursuing EU H2020 funding for upgrading the facility and are working with prospective educational and community partners in Cork. The launch will take place online at a public webinar on February 1st, 2020 at 7pm. A membership scheme and donor programme for the new centre will also be launched at this event. 

“As we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic, with hopeful news on the development and roll out of vaccines we feel that 2021 also offers the opportunity to build back better on sustainability and climate action,” said the group’s chairperson, Jim O’Donnell.

Director, Ana Ospina said,  “There is so much more we hope to achieve in the pursuit of a greener future for West Cork.  Our event on 1st February, which is Imbolc, or the Feast of St Brigid, marks the first day of Spring, and a new beginning.  We feel this is the appropriate time to launch our exciting programme of activities for the coming year and beyond”.  

‘Green Skibbereen was established following a public meeting in the West Cork Hotel in November 2019.  This event inspired a small group of local people with a shared passion for sustainability and a vision to come together to promote climate action in West Cork Hotel and to work with other interested groups and individuals.  A not for profit company was established comprising founding members of the group – Jim O’Donnell (O’Donnell Furniture) & Noel Casserly (Smart Earth) and new co-directors Jose Ospina (Carbery Housing Association). Trish Lavelle (Project Manager and Educator) and Brendan McCormack (Business and Marketing Consultant), formerly of the Save Our Skibbereen (SOS) campaign, and Ana Ospina (Operations Manager of Carbery Housing Association and Creative Producer).

An initial goal of the group was to encourage individuals and local businesses to take practical action on renewable energy and energy efficiency to make carbon savings.  Local businesses and individuals, as part of a Better Energy Community, were encouraged to make a commitment to installing solar panels on their roofs as well as actions such as the installation of LED lights.. It was a simple idea, but one that would produce immediate results. 

In partnership with Cork-based organisation, Northside Community Enterprises, and their dedicated ‘Energy Hub’, several local businesses were able to secure match funding to install solar panels with grants received in 2020. 

“The Centre is expensive to run and we rely heavily on grants and on community support especially for capital projects. After staff costs, the main drain on expenditure is energy costs. Various measures, including heat pumps, insulation and triple glazing have reduced our bills from €60k to €30k over the last six years. Always keen to do more, we were delighted to be awarded a grant of approx. €10k from the SEAI to fit Solar PV panels as part of their Better Energy Community Scheme. This came through just as COVID 19 reared its ugly head in Ireland. After a bit of a wobble, we decided the only thing to do was to go ahead with the project as ultimately it would save money and reduce our carbon footprint, essential in these times of runaway CO2 emissions and associated climate heating.” Sekeeta Crowley, Community Volunteer , Baltimore Community Pool and Fitness Centre.

Co-director, Noel Casserly, said: “While it’s great to be celebrating the successes we have had so far, this is where the hard work really starts. The challenges for Ireland are significant.  The recently published 2020 Climate Change Performance Index has rated Ireland’s performance in cutting emissions in the ‘very low’ category placing Ireland 39th out of 57 countries, mainly due to its failure to cut emissions.Local communities must be engaged and enabled to drive forward the necessary changes that will benefit all our futures”.  

“We will launching our marketing and social media campaign from December 14th. 2020 has been a difficutl and challenging year but we think we have put in place the foundations for really exciting developments in 2021. Our new centre will be a beacon for the region.” Brendan McCormack, Communications Director. 

Contact Green Skibbereen at

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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