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FF TD: Govt’s climate policies mostly just to placate Greens

A Fianna Fáil TD has slammed his own government’s climate policy, saying it’s his belief that most of the government’s climate rhetoric is simply “to placate the Green Party,” and reiterating that Ireland “must be the laughing stock of Europe.”

“I am against the fact that government seems to think somebody else is going to pick up the tab for [this] agenda.”

The remarks were made last week by Fianna Fáil Carlow-Kilkenny TD John McGuinness, during a debate on “climate action.”

“I do not think anyone disagrees with the problems we are facing in how we interact with the planet in our daily lives, and what we need to do to make life better and more sustainable,” said McGuinness.

“Much of the rhetoric and commentary on this particular proposal, particularly from the government side, is to placate the Green Party. That is my honest opinion.”

He went on to say that the government’s stance on climate “is not matching the reality of life” for ordinary people.

“This is the reality I face every day in my constituency,” he said.

“Let us consider farming and the suckler cow issue – an activity in which many families are involved. How do we have a just transition that moves that farming family from one activity to the other? There is no discussion about that.”

He went on to criticise his own government for the repeated scuppering of the planned Glanbia cheese plant, which would be based in his own constituency of Kilkenny and provided many rural jobs.

“If we are building a new cheese plant in south Kilkenny and encouraging people to have the supply chain ready for that, how do we change them midstream?

“This is not a decision farmers made; it is a decision government made. It decided that it wanted to increase the herd and that this was a good thing for the economy. How is the government going to fund that just transition moving them from one activity to the other?”

Moreover, the deputy added that Ireland must be “the laughing stock of Europe” for importing products which we had decided to stop producing.

“Peat and forestry were mentioned. We must be the laughing stock of Europe that we would stop producing peat and then start to import it. It is the same with timber.

“What is happening in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that has caused such a horrific collapse in the process around licences of one kind and another with no real political response?

“The consequence of that is importing more timber from abroad and burning more diesel, with all that entails and the damage it does to the climate. What practical steps are being taken to rectify that for the world in which we live?”

The deputy also criticised the government’s treatment of the beef and transport industry.

“Beef farmers are being accused of all sorts of things, yet we are being asked to support them,” he said.

“They are being encouraged to expand. We have a large beef market abroad for the type of beef we produce. Are we telling them to stop? Where is the just transition there from one activity to the other?

“In the transport business, a person cannot buy an electric truck unless he or she has a fantastic sum of money. They are not available and the servicing of those trucks is a complicated matter.”

The TD added that because electric vehicles are expensive, that cost would be “passed on to the products and services that the turck and operator transport companies run up.”

“The person at the end of the queue, therefore, is going to pay again. What is being done by government to make sure there is a just transition for a transport company to become an electric transport company?

“Who is going to save the consumer in all of this? I am not against what we are talking about. I am against the fact that government seems to think somebody else is going to pick up the tab for the agenda it has set and is now about to try to change dramatically.”



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