Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, today called for the acceleration of the development of our offshore wind energy and the front-loading of investment in public transport to help meet our climate targets.
The Meath East TD said:
“We are mid-way through the first carbon budget, which requires emissions to fall by an average of 4.8% per year. However last year emissions increased by 5.4% and they will rise again this year.
“This highlights that the government’s plan is not working, and a new approach is needed.
“Sinn Féin wants to see state-led renewable energy development, investment in public transport, an acceleration of shallow retrofits and solar panel installations and support for farmers to diversify their incomes to help reduce emissions across the board.
“The development of our offshore wind energy is essential to cutting emissions in the energy, transport and heating sectors.
“However, survey and planning delays are now jeopardising projects, and a lack of investment in our ports means the first wind farms will not be built from this island.
“We need urgent action to address these problems.
“Sinn Féin has also called for the dividends policies of our semi-states to be revised, to increase the level of reinvestment into renewable energy in this decade.
“This would enable them to capture a greater share of overall new green energy production, thereby improving our energy security and positioning these companies to return dividends to the taxpayer from green energy generation into the future.
“This Climate Action Plan is heavy on additional charges for motorists, but light on detail when it comes to more buses, trains and trams.
“Increasing the cost of transport does not work if the alternatives are not in place. The huge increase in the price of fuel this year has proven this point. People still need to drive to get to work and education.
“Instead of front-loading investment in sustainable transport, the government have opted to prioritise the punitive charges.
“Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget called for a €200m injection in our public transport services next year to help reduce emissions, by cutting fares, investing in new rail infrastructure, accelerating the rollout of rural bus services and making public transport safer and more accessible.
“There is no acceptance that the government’s retrofit plan is not delivering. Most people simply cannot afford to retrofit their home, and this plan fails to address this central issue.
“Instead, this plan repeats the target of 500,000 B2 retrofits by 2030, despite the fact that the government will miss their own target of 8,640 B2 retrofits this year.
“Sinn Féin called for an overhaul of the current retrofit schemes, to accelerate shallow retrofits, introduced tiered grants, install more solar energy and prioritise energy upgrades for those living in energy poverty.
“Back in 2020, the government set a target of planting 8,000 hectares of forestry per annum. This hasn’t been met in any year since then and will likely be missed yet again this year.
“We need a focus on delivery and meeting the existing climate targets we have, not rehashing and relaunching the same policies over and over again.”