Setting up a co-operative

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Cloughjordan Ecovillage was conceived as a model for future development, an educational project dedicated to environmental protection and to sharing the fruits of the community’s experience. Future residents of the village established a not-for-profit company to realise the project in 1999: Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd (SPIL). SPIL operates as a co-operative but with the legal structure of a charity, a foundation for the public good. Membership of SPIL was initially limited to  residents intending to live and build in the village but has naturally evolved to include other local residents. The Membership Agreement defines members’ rights and obligations. Members also subscribe to an ecological charter which sets out guidelines for the design of the development and which will continue to affect all future operations. A board of directors and an advisory panel were appointed consisting of people with a range of skills required to establish the project including an engineer, an architect, an accountant, a solicitor, a quantity surveyor and the then leader of the Irish Green Party.