Catchment News

Sustainable Communities Funding and Governance Handbooks launched by The Wheel and the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has partnered with The Wheel to produce the Sustainable Communities guidebooks series, providing up to date advice on funding and governance for community-led groups throughout Ireland.

Chock full of ideas and resources, both handbooks’ tips and tools can be tailored to fit your needs and guide you towards sustainability.

Both Sustainable Communities: a funding handbook for community-led groups and Sustainable Communities: a governance resource book for small community and voluntary organisations are available to download for free and physical copies will also be distributed by The Wheel.

Today’s event was opened by The Wheel CEO Deirdre Garvey, and is the beginning of greater support for the work being done by communities around Ireland who are managing their local environment for the benefit of all. For The Wheel and the EPA, sustainable communities are not just economically thriving and compliant in terms of their governance – they are also environmentally healthy and socially resilient.

Speaking at today’s launch, EPA Deputy Director General Dara Lynott spoke about how communities have a vital role in helping Ireland’s transition:

By 2050, I hope to see my grandchildren leave college and look for jobs in a decarbonised world where the economic growth needed to sustain a growing population will not depend on ever increasing resource use, and communities have been at the heart of a transition to a low-carbon world by helping establish the social norms that will be necessary for this societal change.

Other speakers included Mary Fogarty from The Cottage Loughmore – a community co-operative shop and tearooms in Tipperary – and 2014 Winner of Irish Times Best Cafe in Ireland.

Mary spoke about the value of enterprises like this to local communities, which can help other local producers get a place to display their wares, and even more simply just gives local people a place to meet and talk – helping promote social inclusion and combating rural isolation. The community in Loughmore also has an active angling community and recently installed a duck pond besides the River Suir. Both Mary and Maeve were a delight to talk to, and have happily agreed to keep a few copies of our June Catchments Newsletter about the Suir in their cafe so anyone who is interested can browse through it.

Huge thanks to all from The Wheel for all their hard work on these handbooks and for organising today’s event, and the local communities who showed up today – there are some great stories out there, hopefully some of which will be included in future editions of the Catchments Newsletter.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.