Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, has described the passage of the Climate Action Bill as an attack on rural Ireland.
The representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency declared that the bill will be detrimental for democracy in this country.
He stated that people in rural Ireland – particularly those from a farming background or those who have to commute for work – need to realise how their local representatives voted on the bill.
He said: “The parties will say that representatives will have an input on the sectoral emission ceilings.”
“The reality is that the minister can overrule them if a target cannot be agreed.”
Climate Change Advisory Council
He stated that the Climate Change Advisory Council will have a “significant say” moving forward when it comes to these targets.
“As it stands, we have a member of that council who has openly called for cuts to the national herd – despite all of the evidence against the merits of this proposal.”
“It is imperative that the make-up of this council fairly represents the population of Ireland and that rural Ireland and the agriculture sector is fairly represented on it.”
“We cannot allow a situation to develop where the bulk of the council is made up of professors and academics from cities who have no experience of what goes on in rural Ireland.”
“I fear that Ireland is placing the cart before the horse as this government continues to drive this Green agenda.
“I have said repeatedly that Ireland is staring down the barrel of potential energy blackouts by 2026 if we continue down this road.
“The Greens continue to harp on about the move to renewable energy. But building these off-shore wind farms take time, and it will be years before they are up and running. Hydrogen technology is still a few years away from being viable.”
As it stands, he added, data centres in Dublin are bringing in tanker loads of oil because the ESB cannot guarantee them a power supply.
Peat harvesting and forestry
He said Ireland is importing peat and briquettes from abroad, while Bord na Mona is forced to cease its peat harvesting operations.
“We are reducing our ability to create power, but we are pushing to retrofit homes and increase the number of electric cars on the road. Where will the power come from to heat these homes or drive these cars?”
He believes there is very little evidence of a ‘just transition’. He said BNM’s move away from peat cost hundreds of people their jobs, both directly and indirectly. “Where will the jobs come from to replace them? They certainly won’t come from wind turbines.”
“When it comes to the forestry sector, targets for planting haven’t been met for the past few years. This doesn’t look like changing in the short term.”
“There is absolutely no confidence in the sector among farmers. It is a department in chaos with a minister at the helm who won’t take it by the scruff of the neck to resolve the problems.”
In conclusion, Fitzmaurice noted: “This Climate Bill will be detrimental for rural Ireland in particular.”
“I cannot understand how rural TDs from the likes of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael could have voted in favour of this.” the Independent TD concluded.