City left without Green Leaf projects co-ordinator

Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive, Galway City Council; Joanna Drake, Deputy Director General, European Commission Environment; Dr Sharon Carroll, former Green Leaf Project Co-ordinator and Mayor of Galway, Noel Larkin, at the official launch of Galway City as European Green Leaf 2017. Photo: Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

Community groups in the city have been left “stunned” by the loss of City Council’s Green Leaf coordinator – now five months into Galway’s year as designated European Green Leaf City.

Last year, Galway was chosen by the European Commission as the small city that best demonstrated well-established records of high environmental standards, a commitment to setting ambitious environmental goals and the practical application of those goals to ensure sustainable development.

As part of the designation, Galway has twelve months to take a leading role in shaping EU environmental practice.

However, for the last number of weeks, the project has been without a coordinator following Sharon Carroll’s promotion to another role within City Hall.

Member of Terryland Forest Park Alliance and veteran environmental campaigner, Brendan Smith, said that Sharon was an inspired choice for the role and her loss has left everyone in the sector hugely disappointed.

“Basically what has happened is that Sharon Carroll, whom we all admire because of her experience, was going for promotion and she got it.

“There has been no replacement and we are asking that City Council, as a matter of urgency, to fill the vacancy,” said Mr Smith.

Ms Carroll has worked with community groups in the city for a long time and has done a PhD that was directly relevant to the role – something that has made her loss to the project all the more significant.

There was disappointment from the beginning of the programme with City Hall failing to appoint someone to the role until last January – and to have lost her just five months later has derailed plans for the year.

That’s according to the coordinator of Galway City Community Network, Ann Irwin, who said that there is huge anger in the sector due to what they see as indicative that the Green Leaf designation “isn’t being taken seriously”.
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