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EJNI Launch


On Tuesday 25th June, the 21st Anniversary of the Aarhus Convention, the Environmental Justice Network Ireland (EJNI) was launched in the Ulster Museum, Belfast.

We were overwhelmed by the interest in the network and by the range of stakeholders who traveled to attend its launch. We were joined by academics, environmental campaigners, NGOs, the media, members of the legal profession, representatives from local and central government as well as politicians from across the political spectrum and from both sides of the border in Ireland.

Dr Ciara Brennan explained the key drivers behind the establishment of EJNI, focusing on the rise of grassroots environmental campaigning, unease about the impact Brexit may have on environmental protection on the island of Ireland and the need to enhance collaboration between environmental stakeholders and across the Irish border. She also highlighted the need to develop evidence-based directions for reform and design academic research agendas that reflect the needs of different stakeholder groups. Finally, Ciara highlighted the EJNI’s plans to hold its next seminar in November 2019 and to commence a programme of transdisciplinary research during summer 2019.

Dr Peter Doran from Queen’s University Belfast then presented delegates with a history of movement-building around the concept of environmental justice, before introducing our keynote speaker, Dr Andrew Jackson of University College Dublin. Andrew gave an inspirational speech covering the nature of the climate emergency, the emergence of strategic environmental litigation (in particular his experience with Climate Case Ireland) and the role of the Aarhus Convention in liberalising access to environmental justice in Ireland. In his opinion, ‘the Environmental Justice Network looks set to play a vital contribution to the public discourse around urgent, ambitious environmental action, and at just the right time’. Andrew’s full speech is available to watch below.

Our speeches concluded with a rousing analysis of the challenges facing environmental justice campaigners in Ireland today from Dean Blackwood, comments from the audience and James Orr highlighting the importance of the new network in helping to ‘advance environmental justice for a peaceful society, a healthier democracy, the rights of nature and a sustainable economy’.

We thank everyone who attended and contributed to the launch event and look forward to working with you all in the future.

Special thanks to: Newcastle Law School for funding the launch of EJNI and particularly to Ole Pedersen, Hannah Lynch, Ruth Houghton and Rhona Smith; Simon Wood (Films,; Dale Blackwood (Design); Ciara Cooper and Bróna McNeill (Admin Support); Colm Sands and Ann Harper (Music); Declan Allison (Photos); Ian Knox (Art); Lynda Sullivan, Laura Neal and Colette Stewart (Web Content); Phillip Lock and Michael Robinson (IT Support); Ulster Museum (Venue); NIAVAC (AV Support); Cathedral Graphics (Prints and Posters).

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