C: Willie O’Dea TD Facebook

“Ideology gone mad”: Fianna Fáil TD slams Ryan on retrofitting

Veteran Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has hit out at his coalition partner Eamon Ryan over a proposed ban on gas and oil boilers, saying it’s time the government “got real” on energy policy.

In a video posted to Facebook last week, the Limerick TD responded to a proposed future ban on new oil and gas boilers to heat homes. 

The plan – proposed by Green Party Climate Minister Eamon Ryan – would ban installing such fossil fuel boilers on new homes from as early as next year, and would ban replacement of such systems in existing homes from 2025.

“What we need to do now is make it absolutely clear for people that we are switching away from fossil fuels and switching to better alternatives,” Ryan said, adding that the move was necessary “if we’re going to meet our climate targets.”

However, former Fianna Fáil Defence Minister Willie O’Dea said that the plan was “ideology gone mad.”

“If someone can’t replace their boiler, that means they need to get a deep retrofit,” he said. 

“Which in net terms, taking into account grants and so on, could cost thirty to forty thousand minimum. Now, how are the vast majority of my constituents going to put their hands on thirty to forty thousand, just because they can’t replace their boiler?” 

He continued that in the immediate future, this would result in a lot more “clapped out boilers” being “badly repaired,” which would have an adverse effect on the environment.

“It’s time we got real now and adopted an energy policy that reflects the fact that there’s a gross energy shortage in the world, and we are facing an energy crisis on all fronts,” he said. 

“Common sense has to prevail here, and I will be demanding that it does prevail.”

This is not the first sign of tension within the government coalition, with Young Fine Gael calling for the senior party to “square up to the Greens” on a proposed carbon tax hike back in April.

Young Fine Gael calls government to cancel carbon tax hike

 

The policy was also opposed by Fine Gael TDs John Paul Phelan, Michael Ring and Paul Kehoe.

Additionally, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has recently reportedly endorsed a liquefied natural gas terminal in Kerry to strengthen Ireland’s energy security this winter, despite Eamon Ryan’s objections.

 

Some government backbenchers even reportedly told Ryan that his proposed ban on the sale of turf was so unpopular that it could “bring down the government,” heckling and shouting down the Green Party leader.

 

Green policies seem to be a major point of contention within the coalition, and will continue to be so as the energy crisis progresses this winter.

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