The Rural Independent Group describes the government’s electric vehicle targets as another attack on rural dwellers.
Its targets for EVs include an initial figure of 195,000 by 2025, with a further 750,000 in 2026-2030.
These targets, the group believes, are “completely unrealistic”, given the ongoing difficulties in manufacturing, distributing, and the “ever-worsening” cost-of-living crisis.
Electric vehicle targets
Rural Independent Group leader, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, says:
“Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is just another ruinous attack on the Irish way of life by inner-city and government elites under the guise of net zero emissions by 2050.”
“It is crazy to proceed with this policy at a time when the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and Eirgrid are warning that Ireland must ‘reduce’ electricity demands or face ‘blackouts’ for this coming winter and subsequent ones thereafter.”
“For instance, the government’s second target would require that almost every vehicle purchased here between 2026-2030, new or second-hand, would have to be an EV.”
“This target is not even remotely practical, as no second-hand market for EVs exists. The new options are prohibitively expensive for most people, and the government must wake up to these realities.”
He says these government-mandated policy proposals are “nothing more than another massive climate tax” on Irish citizens, undermining the liveability of regional and rural communities.
The deputy adds that Irish families are already facing an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis, having to decide “between eating and heating”.
He says the governmental strategy of forcing citizens to now buy electric vehicles, which simultaneously fails to “serve their needs and are unaffordable”, will only exacerbate matters.
Furthermore, the deputy adds that even before the current cost-of-living crisis, most Irish families could not afford to purchase a fancy electric vehicle as their next car; typically, it is only those with high incomes who have shown a willingness to purchase them.”
“The target is pressuring ordinary people to have one million such vehicles on Irish roads by 2030. The cheapest electric family car today costs approximately €38,000, while a second-hand petrol or diesel car can be purchased for as little as €700. This policy places enormous financial pressures on families.”
Furthermore, the government, the group adds, also plans to hit already strapped taxpayers with bills to pay for charging stations.
The group of TDs say this is a way to subsidise industry and the “more affluent” who already own these cars.
Lack of charging points
He stresses that outside of Ireland’s five major cities, where public transport is limited or disjointed, a car is essential for social and economic mobility.
Thus, limiting the purchase of such cars to limited range electric-powered is a “massive” attack on all rural residents.
“Meanwhile, this is occurring when constituents, who already own electric cars, are informing us that they are discarding these cars for diesel and petrol models, due to a lack of charging points, broken existing ones, or unreliable battery range issues.”
“Therefore, the strategy to ban the sale of cheaper petrol and diesel cars is a blatant offence on all rural communities, impacting the least well-off and rural motorists the hardest.”
“We believe this policy is aligned with the government’s punitive urbanisation policy agenda. It also highlights the lobbying influence of corporate elites,” the deputy adds.
The group calls on the government to abandon any policy proposal, which, they warn, would “force” Irish people to buy expensive electric cars, proving to be “expensive” to charge as electricity prices continue to soar.
They have demanded that the government row back on these “elite” policies and recognise the financial burdens ordinary people are under, and “give them a break”.
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