According to Independent TD for Laois Offaly, Carol Nolan, the €180 billion cost of the Climate Action Bill is “obscene” and must be challenged.
She spoke after opposing the government’s bill, which the Dáil passed last week.
The deputy said the bill will now move to the Seanad where “it is likely to also pass” with government and opposition party support.
She has described the legislation as “one of the regressive and damaging pieces of law” to come before the Oireachtas in many years.
“That is why I am so passionately opposed to it. I informed Minister Eamon Ryan that I am from a county that is bearing the brunt of a so-called just transition, a transition which the minister felt only merited a single mention in a 7,000-word document.”
“Yet he now wants to impose this unjust transition model on to every county in Ireland.”
She described this as a “huge insult” to the people of the midlands and rural and urban Ireland. “It was shameful that the minister also rejected over 200 amendments from all the opposition.”
‘Reeks of elitism’
The deputy said TDs put forward constructive options, reached out and tried to be collaborative.
“It is appalling. It reeks of elitism and the fact that the minister does not care about how the real arrogance of the government is being perceived.”
She accused the government of “selling out the country, the people and walking on the ordinary rural people”.
“That is why I had no hesitation in telling the Minister that this will not be forgotten and that will not be forgotten for the wrong reasons.”
“I urge the Minister to try to be constructive because it is shameful.”
The deputy said she has liaised with hundreds of workers – those involved in horticulture, peat-harvesting and Bord na Móna employees.
“What the minister is doing is disgraceful. These are workers with bills and mortgages. The fact that the minister cannot even provide alternatives is disgraceful.”
“The minister should be standing up and explaining to the people of the midlands how importing briquettes and peat makes sense.”
“When one looks at the carbon footprint created by the transportation of German briquettes or peat into this country, is the minister for real? What planet is he on? The minister is not on planet Earth; that is for sure.”
€20 billion per year
She said what is even more alarming is that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has now confirmed through its own analysis that the cost of implementing the government’s bill will cost €20 billion each year until 2030.
“That is €180 billion at a minimum. And all of this for a bill that explicitly de-prioritises employment.”
“It is incomprehensible, and it must be rejected before the damage is done and the costs skyrocket,” she concluded.