Hail . . . . .
Pádraig Culbert, Chief Executive, Tipperary Institute, welcomed those attending the Ireland's Transition to Renewable Energy conference with these words:

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. My function this morning is to welcome you to Tipperary Institute and to officially open this conference.

In doing so I would like to pay tribute to our partners in organising this conference, the Renewable Energy Information Office of Sustainable Energy Ireland and FEASTA, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability. In particular I would like to thank Richard Douthwaite, the main organiser. I gratefully acknowledge the support given to the conference by ESB Independent Energy, Airtricity, GE Wind, COMHAR (the National Sustainable Development Partnership) and the Green Group in the European Parliament. Without the support of our sponsors this conference would not have been possible.

One might wonder why Tipperary Institute is involved in organising this major event on renewable energy, so I shall explain. The Institute has been given a mission by the Irish Government to promote the sustainable socioeconomic development of the region. In all our development work in Tipperary Institute the concept of sustainability is paramount. One of the key areas of economic activity that raises issues of sustainability is energy production and usage. It is clear that our present reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels is unsustainable on a number of levels.

The Tipperary Institute has therefore been active in the sustainable energy sector since its inception. The Institute has particular focuses on community-involvement in renewable energy development and on bioenergy ­ a number of projects on these topics have been successfully completed. Under the leadership of Ciarán Lynch, three staff from the Rural Development Department, Clifford Guest, Kevin Healion and Seamus Hoyne, are actively working on the topic of sustainable energy and have been involved in the organisation of this conference. The Institute is also a partner with North Tipperary County Council and South Tipperary County Council in the Tipperary Energy Agency, a local energy agency whose establishment was supported under the EU SAVE programme. The agency promotes energy conservation and renewable energy.

I would like to acknowledge the input of the Institute staff who have assisted in the organisation and preparations for the conference, and who will be involved over the duration of the event.

The conference brings a number of different perspectives to the debate on the future of energy supply for Ireland - petro-geology, the oil industry, the nuclear perspective and, of course, the renewable energy perspective. I am certain that we can look forward to a challenging and informative conference. I am delighted that we in Tipperary Institute have you as our guests for the three days of the event, and I hope that you find the conference valuable and enjoyable. I thank you in advance for your active participation and contribution to the success of the event.

. . . & Farewell
The conference closed by passing the motion below unanimously. It had been proposed by Richard Behel.

We call upon the Irish Government to take the lead in the EU as a matter of urgency in calling for a form of Marshall Plan to fund the research and implementation of a renewable energy future for Europe and the entire world.

The environmental sickness of the Earth and the looming shortage of polluting, conventional fossil fuels makes it clear that our dependence on them cannot be allowed to continue any longer. Yet private enterprise alone cannot provide the solution within the timeframe required.

The EU should therefore set up a task force of scientists, engineers and environmentalists with a multi-billion euro budget to bring about the rapid transition to renewable energy for the benefit of all mankind.

This is one of almost 50 chapters and articles in the 336-page large format book, Before the Wells Run Dry. Copies of the book are available for £9.95 from Green Books.

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