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Interview with Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Ireland   


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Vice chair of Irish Joint Oireachtas group since 2020. Member of the Irish parliament, lower house 

In the Newsletter, we want to spotlight members of PfGG who are championing SDGs in
their parliaments, showcasing their achievements, sharing their successful strategies on
the implementation of SDGs in their parliament and community. This time, we
spotlight Marc Ó Cathasaigh, member of Irish Parliament





Role of the APPG within the Parliamentary Structure 
The APPGM's firm establishment within the parliamentary structure is highlighted by its focus on 

The Joint Oireachtas Group: A Platform for Collaboration     

At the center of SDG advocacy in Ireland lies the Cross-Party Oireachtas Group, an informal yet powerful coalition dedicated to advancing sustainable development. Founded at the onset of a new governmental era, this group serves as a catalyst for cross-party cooperation, uniting parliamentarians from diverse political backgrounds under a common agenda for progress. 

The Joint Oireachtas Group boasts active participation from ten members, with Marc Ó Cathasaigh and Senator Alice Mary Higgins leading the charge as Chair and vice chair. While the group's meetings are irregular, occurring quarterly or as needed, each gathering serves as a vital forum for robust discussions, knowledge exchange, and strategi planning on SDG implementation. 

Comprising representatives spanning the political spectrum from big parties like Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Sinn Féin, as well as minor parties such as Labour and Social Democrat, the group embodies the spirit of bipartisan cooperation. As Marc Ó Cathasaigh articulates "when parliamentarians are more aware of the power of the SDG framework, and how it can be applied, I think that is where you get the ship moving in the right direction". 


Embedding SDGs in Parliamentary Work    

Within the Irish Parliament, Marc Ó Cathasaigh has played a pivotal role in anchoring SDGs in parliamentary activities. Leveraging the standing orders of parliamentary committees, Marc and his colleagues ensure that each department's implementation of SDGs is scrutinized and monitored effectively. 

Furthermore there is a Standing Order 100(4) relating to the work programme of committees. This order mandates that each Committee's annual work programme include progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, within the scope of the Committee's orders of reference. 

Through a national implementation plan introduced in 2020, each of the 169 SDG targets is assigned to a lead department, providing clarity on responsibilities and fostering accountability. Marc's leadership is evident in his proactive approach to convening committee sessions where departments are questioned on their progress toward SDG targets, ensuring transparency and driving tangible results. 

Empowering Communities: The Tiny Towns Initiative  

The Tiny Towns Initiative stands as a beacon of grassroots engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ireland. Originating as a long-standing competition celebrating community pride and cohesion, Tiny Towns has recently integrated SDGs into its framework, capturing the attention and the enthusiasm of people across Ireland. 

This competition has become a platform for local communities to actively contribute to global sustainability efforts. By incorporating SDGs into an already familiar and beloved tradition, Tiny Towns has sparked widespread engagement and participation. This unique approach not only enhances community involvement but also fosters a deeper understanding of and connection to the SDGs among participants. Through initiatives like Tiny Towns, ordinary citizens are empowered to drive meaningful change from the grass

For further exploration of Marc Ó Cathasaigh's initiatives, feel free to visit his website at You can also engage with him on social media via X:

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