Old Leighlin community leading the way in Energy Efficiency


One of the 10 EU priorities for the years 2015 to 2019 focuses on making our use of energy more secure, affordable and sustainable. This includes improving our energy efficiency and reducing emissions through clean energy solutions for buildings and towns. The community of Old Loughlin are a shining example as to how this can be achieved at local level:

On 25th of July 2017 the SECN committee field trip was organised to Old Leighlin Community Hall to examine the operation, effectiveness and benefits of Biomass boiler system installed in the Hall.

A group of local committee members registered with the Sustainable Energy Communities Network (SECN), were offered an extensive guided tour hosted by Alice O’Leary, Ass. Secretary of Old Leighlin Community Hall and Seamus Hayden, Chairperson. The purpose of this visit was to highlight and demonstrate the promotion of heating based on renewable fuels by serving as a good practice case study for any community, or other large buildings. This project has the potential to be replicated for a very large number of existing and new buildings.

Alice and Seamus were extremely helpful when answering various questions with reference to doubts, and uncertainties, with regard to the cost effectiveness, installation, procuring finance, savings on Carbon emission, and the build-up of Carbon credits. For better understanding of the overall benefits of the biomass boiler, members were provided with a detailed breakdown of installation costs as well as running costs.

This is a project looking to the future. It is providing facilities to the community that is aiming towards a fit mind and body through participation, activity and socialising. The efforts, dedication and hard work, is evidence of the success and a fine example of a community building that can be adopted by all community groups within the County.

There was enormous appreciation for the advice, information, and financial support extended by CCDP through LEADER funding. CCDP is committed to realising aspirations and vision of communities throughout the County in whatever projects undertaken by communities.

Sean & Patsy Stapleton thanked the Old Leighlin Community Committee for giving their time “to give us such an informative tour of their fabulous Centre.  It's a credit to the Committee to have such wonderful facilities in a Community.”

Eileen Murphy thanked Carlow County Development Partnership and Marina De Costa for organising the trip to visit Old Leighlin Community Hall to view their Biomass boiler.

"I found it very interesting and learned a lot from the visit.  It is a great credit to the people of Old Leighlin to have such a fine facility. I wish to thank them for their kind hospitality."

Greater inclusion and participation: Mental Health: Irish Men’s Sheds Association Launches www.malehealth.ie

There is a strong correlation between deprivation and negative impacts upon mental health.   A lack of opportunities for social engagement and structure can impact upon motivation and creativity and lead to deeper issues such as depression. Men are traditionally less likely to talk about their problems so an area of concern for organizations like ourselves is how to support groups and initiatives which assist men in this area.

In this regard, July 20th was a proud day for men’s sheds in Ireland, as the Irish Men’s Sheds Association launched its new men’s health website, www.malehealth.ie. The new website offers information, resources and advice from over 40 Irish health organisations. Based on a template established by the Australian Men’s Sheds Association, the website’s menu is intuitive and easy to navigate, being based on a graphic of the male anatomy.

Users select their age-range, click on the part of the body they want to find out more about, and are then presented with a menu of health topics (including conditions, ailments and lifestyle issues). They can then select from the menu to be taken directly to the website of the country’s leading authorities on that topic. READ MORE HERE.

Carlow Communities sign up to Sustainable Energy Network


Mary Walsh CEO of CCDP held a second consultation of the Sustainable Energy Community Network (SECN) members on the 26th of June 2017.

The meeting which was held in the Carlow County Development partnership offices in Bagenalstown was attended by representatives of 9 communities from towns and villages in County Carlow.

Thanks to all members who attended and, for being such a participative group. The evening was stimulating, educational, and extremely interesting with everyone sharing their knowledge and expertise, worries and apprehensions.

We are further delighted to make known that, all nine communities have registered with the SECN. The importance of registering signifies that, each community has two essential elements of information:

  • That the community is registered (included on mailing list for further information and updates)
  • Those communities have access to the SEAI expert who will assess individual communities providing specific consultation to individuals and groups of the community.

Members indicated that they would like to visit organisations’ that are at present using Energy Efficiency measures to acquaint them with the different approaches and systems in use. By general consensus, the Old Leighlin Community Hall, and Bagenalstown Swimming pool were the preferred choice for a site visit before embarking on the more elaborate excursion to view the extensive Energy Efficiency upgrade works undertaken by the North Tipperary Community group.

Mary Walsh assured all communities present, that CCDP will give them objective advice and support on the risks, in depth analysis of finance involved and payback.

Furthermore, members discussed relevant concerns and difficulties that would be challenging. For example some of the issues raised were how would it be feasible within small community groups, and more importantly, how does the community group convincingly market such an elaborate model to get buy-in from the community. Administration and project management was also extensively considered, and a centralized coordinator/manager was suggested as a consideration.

There were a range of questions and subjects raised to include:

  • How to start; and the follow on journey
  • Time element and time frame
  • Individual community vs centralized approach
  • Green issues
  • Finance issues – how to raise finance, cash flow concerns
  • Public buildings- SEAI policy on listed buildings
  • Glass in windows of listed buildings
  • Paying back loan using Energy Efficiency Credits/Carbon Credits
  • Could River Barrow be used as a viable option to generate energy
  • Setting up mini district heating systems (Swedish Model)

Members inquired if there was a list of models of best practice available from SEAI. They would also like some specific facts of projects in action. Members also requested training to be made available by SEAI to make the terminology and language used by assessors more understandable (plain& clear).

The meeting – consultation ascertained the enthusiasm expressed by community members. Members felt that the support, advice, guidance, and expertise that was being offered by Mary Walsh and CCDP was invaluable and beneficial. They added, that the meeting answered practical questions which were very helpful. The suggestion that they visit the two local projects was met with great enthusiasm. This exercise would act as a stepping stone for our excursion to the projects carried out in North Tipperary.