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Minister Ryan TD, opens second Shared Island Dialogue

Minister Eamon Ryan TD, this morning opened a Shared Island Dialogue on “The Environment and Climate – Addressing Shared Challenges”.


The event is the second of the Shared Island Dialogue series that was launched by the Taoiseach last October as part of the Government’s Shared Island initiative. Working with the Northern Ireland Executive and the British Government to address shared strategic challenges, in ambitious and effective partnership, founded on the Good Friday Agreement is central to the Shared Island approach.


This second dialogue brings together more than 100 participants from across the island of Ireland joined in an online discussion involving civil society groups; business and agriculture representatives; academic and research experts; Local Authorities and State Agencies.


Minister Ryan commented:

“Environment and climate are unique policy areas by virtue of their global impact and require a global shared response if policies are to be effective. It follows that there is no greater and more common challenge we face as an island, than tackling the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, with the urgency, resolve and solidarity it demands.

There are already significant examples of environmental cooperation that we have developed on the island in recent years. For instance, on biodiversity, supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) has developed an online invasive species database that allows for sightings of invasive species, North or South, to be reported, providing a critically important monitoring and control function. This is the kind of broad-based collaboration - involving government, agencies, researchers, and civil society - that makes the difference.”

Alongside PEACE PLUS, the Government in Budget 2021 announced our Shared Island Fund, with €500m in capital funding being made available over the next five years, ring-fenced for collaborative North/South investments, to be made in line with our Programme for Government commitments and priorities, including on environmental protection and sustainable development.


Today’s Dialogue provides an opportunity to share experience and suggestions on what works, what more could be done together and where we could learn from each other on the island - in government, in research, and in our economy and society - to protect our shared environment.


This dialogue is a forum that enables the Government to listen and take account of meaningful and effective shared island approaches across our climate, biodiversity and environmental policies, working in cooperation with the Executive and British Government.#




Notes to the Editor:


Shared Island Dialogue series:

  • Today’s event is the second full sectoral convened as part of the Shared Island Dialogue series that was launched by the Taoiseach in October to foster constructive and inclusive civic dialogue on all aspects of a shared future on the island underpinned by the Good Friday Agreement.


  • The Shared Island Dialogue series will continue in 2021 focusing on important issues for the future of the island, including health, education and economy, and on key concerns that are addressed in the Good Friday Agreement, such as identity and equality.


  • The Dialogue series will contribute to the Government’s approach to the Shared Island initiative, complementing commissioned research and the implementation of commitments on building a Shared Island that are set out in the Programme for Government.


  • Strengthening social, economic and political links on the island and the promotion of all-island approaches to the strategic challenges facing Ireland, North and South are key objectives.


  • The Shared Island Dialogues are being organised by the Shared Island unit in the Department of the Taoiseach in partnership with Government Departments. Today’s dialogue was delivered in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.


  • Further information on the Shared Island initiative, is at and the Plenary sessions of the Shared Island Dialogues are being added at


Dialogue on ‘The Environment and Climate: Addressing Shared Challenges’:

  • Today’s Shared Island Dialogue is moderated by Irish Times’ Environment and Science Editor, Kevin O’Sullivan.


  • The Dialogue features two presentations and three panel discussions.


  • Dr Jeanne Moore, Policy Analyst, National Economic and Social Council (NESC) will present a draft paper by the NESC Secretariat for consultation on Shared Island Consultation: Climate and Biodiversity Challenges and Opportunities”.


  • Dara McAnulty, naturalist, writer and environmental campaigner will deliver his presentation to the dialogue, a poem entitled “Invisible Lines”.


  • The panels will cover the themes of “Tackling the Climate emergency - a Shared Island perspective”, “Addressing the Biodiversity crisis on the island and “Future priorities for all-island cooperation on Environment”.


  • Panellists for the Dialogue are:
    • o Panel 1 – Tackling the Climate emergency - a Shared Island perspective                        
  • Dr Amanda Slevin, Chair Climate Coalition NI
  • Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir, Director, MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine
  • Dr Eimear Cotter, Director, EPA Office of Environmental Sustainability


  • o Panel 2 – Addressing the Biodiversity crisis on the island.
  • Anne-Marie McDevitt, Head of Species, RSPB NI
  • Professor Yvonne Buckley, Nature +, the Trinity Centre for Biodiversity and Sustainable Nature Based Solutions
    • Shirley Clerkin, Heritage Officer with Monaghan County Council


  • o Panel 3 – Future priorities for all-island cooperation on Environment.
  • Oonagh Duggan, Head of Advocacy BirdWatch Ireland, representing the Environmental Pillar
  • Dr. Viviane Gravey, Lecturer in European Politics, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Professor Tom Collins, Chairperson, An Fóram Uisce


Content from the event will be posted on social media throughout the day by @merrionstreet and you can follow the discussion online using #SharedIsland.