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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘We are facing into one of the most challenging winters in a generation’

“As a country and as a member of the European Union, we have a difficult year ahead of us. We cannot shy away from the fact that Putin is weaponising energy and fossil fuels in Europe as his war on Ukraine continues.”

“We are facing into one of the most challenging winters in a generation. That being said, the Green Party in government are facing this challenge head-on.”

That is what Green Party Leader and Minister for Climate, Energy and Transport, Eamon Ryan, told attendees at his party’s annual think-in at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, Co. Clare, which kicked off on Saturday, September 10th, 2022.

Fossil fuels 

The party came together to discuss a coordinated response, at national and local levels, to the cost of living and fossil fuel crisis for the year ahead.

There was a focus on immediate measures in Budget 2023 to protect families and small businesses, as well as longer-term transformative measures.

These included the accelerated roll-out of renewables, continued reductions to public transport fares and cuts in childcare costs.

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The think-in came on the foot of the publication of the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) annual report, which calls for increased targets for wind and solar renewable electricity.

Energy prices 

Ryan – who also attended the European Union’s meeting of energy ministers to discuss options to rein in “soaring” energy prices – commented:

“With the budget brought forward to the end of this month, we are focussing on immediate measures that will help protect families and small businesses over the coming winter and year ahead.”

“While a response to the immediate difficulties people are facing this winter, short-term measures are not enough.”

“The reality is that expensive fossil fuels will become the new normal across the globe. We need to look to the future with this in mind.”

“We have already achieved 40% wind-generated electricity in Ireland, and with new reforms signalled at EU level, this will help to contribute to an overall reduction in energy costs as gas prices continue to escalate.”

He said the government must fast-track investment and resources in wind and solar to secure energy independence and create an Ireland 100% powered by renewable energy.

He told attendees that the Green Party has been calling for this for over forty years.

“We are now the agent for change in government, and with current extraordinary global market pressures, we will be driving long-term transformative measures including the accelerated roll-out of lower-cost wind energy and solar panels.”

“This, along with retrofitting measures across half a million homes in Ireland, will make a real long-term impact on our energy security and efficiencies.”

Affordable transport for all 

Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, added that apart from energy costs, Ireland is, unfortunately, facing into an overall increased cost of living.

“The Green Party is doing everything we can in government to bring long-term improvements and make sure there is money in people’s pockets.”

“Other practical and immediate measures which the party are working for includes the delivery of safe and affordable transport for every town and village in Ireland. We want to extend the recent reductions to public transport fares.

The government introduced a permanent 50% cut in public transport for 17-24-year-olds earlier this year.

Minister O’Gorman says this has been “very successful” and will have a “big” impact on costs for students as they begin or return to college this month.

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