October 10, 2023
Budget 2024 reaffirms government commitment to failing climate strategy – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and the Environment, Darren O’Rourke TD, has criticised the government’s Budget 2024 climate proposals, arguing that they put Ireland on a path to certain climate failure.

The Meath East TD said:

“Budget 2024 is a shocking indictment of this government’s lack of effective leadership and determination when it comes to tackling the climate crisis.

“Across the board in climate spending, there are only the most meagre increases in the government’s allocations and, shockingly in some categories, the government has decided to decrease its climate spend.

“Consider their deeply regressive and inequitable retrofitting scheme – there is only a paltry increase of €25 million for residential and community retrofits, and an even more disappointing €3 million increase for local authority homes.

“In contrast, Sinn Féin’s radically overhauled retrofitting programme would invest an additional €152 million for residential and community retrofits, as well as an additional €43.5 million for local authority homes. We would also establish dedicated schemes for solid fuel homes.

“If this wasn’t bad enough from government, when it comes to delivering the energy transition, they actually plan to decrease its capital investment by a staggering €40 million.

“In contrast to this, Sinn Féin would increase investment in the energy transition by €293 million.

“And, while the government’s commitment to establish an investment fund for infrastructure, climate and nature is welcome, the only thing certain about this fund is that it will not be available within the lifetime of this government or anytime soon.

“It’s not so much a magic money tree as a magic money forest.

“The government is great at setting targets but they are terrible at actually delivering. We can see right through their attempts to kick the can down the road.

“The reality is that this ill-defined, obscure and far off-future fund is political spin used to cover up for the fact that Budget 2024 contains little to no ambition to tackle the twin crises in climate and biodiversity.

“With these proposals, the government is setting us on a path to certain climate failure.

“We know that we need to act fast to reduce emissions. Yet the government is failing to deliver. We are lagging way behind our European neighbours. According to Eurostat research, we are the worst performer in the European Union.

“Under the stewardship of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens, we have exhausted almost 50% of the 2021-2025 carbon budget in the first two years. We are on track to exhaust 123% of the allocated carbon budget by 2030. By refusing to depart from their business-as-usual approach, the government will almost certainly max out the 2025 carbon budget before they have left office. Budget 2024 reaffirms that position.

“That is a damning indictment of this government’s record.

“Despite repeated calls from Sinn Féin to adopt the type of supply-side investment contained in our alternative climate proposals, the government remains determined in their dogged pursuit of punitive measures that punish ordinary workers and families, pricing them out of schemes and locking them out of the benefits of the transition to net-zero.

“It is high time the government got honest with people. Budget 2024 was yet another missed opportunity. There are progressive and fair ways to do climate action – that’s what’s meant by a Just Transition.

“This is the type of transition Sinn Féin committed to – one that is accessible, affordable and sustainable. People in Ireland deserve nothing less.”

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