Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said the party’s Alternative Budget proposals show how to cut emissions, while delivering economic and social benefits to citizens at the same time.
The Meath East TD said;
“Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget for 2023 includes significant additional investment aimed at cutting carbon emissions in a fair and equitable way.
“This government is tied to a punitive, carbon-tax centric approach, which is not cutting emissions, but is making people poorer and damaging people’s perception of climate action.
“Our proposals show you can cut emissions, while delivering economic and social benefits to citizens at the same time.
“Sinn Féin are proposing to pump an additional €196m million into our public transport system next year, cutting fares, investing in new rail infrastructure, accelerating the rollout of rural bus services and making public transport safer and more accessible.
“This is consistent with our approach of putting affordable alternatives in place for people first, which would help drive down emissions in the transport sector.
“We recognise that the retrofit schemes are bypassing those who need them most, so we would overhaul the current inequitable system, opening retrofits up to those on lower and middle incomes, and tackle the long waiting lists for the most vulnerable households.
“We would establish a new €50m retrofit scheme for solid fuel homes, to help these carbon intensive homes transition to greener alternatives. This is in stark contrast to the government’s punitive approach of trying to ban the sale of turf and heaping carbon taxes on rural families who simply have no alternatives.
“Next year we would pump half a billion euro into retrofitting the coldest homes, helping to lift people out of energy poverty, whilst also cutting emissions.
“We would increase the solar PV budget by 66% and introduce tiered grants, allowing people on lower incomes reap the benefits of solar energy.
“We would increase staffing in the planning system to help reduce planning delays for offshore wind farms and make funding available to ports for them to make the changes necessary to ensure wind farms can be constructed from this island.
“We would add 10,000 extra places on the School Transport Scheme next year, taking thousands of cars off the road each day and giving parents a sustainable alternative way of getting their kids to school.
“We would install solar panels on every school building in the state, helping increase our renewable energy output and reduce the financial pressure facing schools.
“We would establish a €10m fund to protect and expand our precious native woodland, establish a National Hedgerow Survey & Enhancement Fund and put the National Biodiversity Data Centre on a statutory footing.
“We would provide farmers with the tools needed to help make family farms more sustainable, such as grants for Low Emission Slurry Spreading equipment, farm-by-farm carbon audits and a €15m fund to increase organic farming.
“A Just Transition Commission, taxes on luxury emissions and an increase in the Overseas Development Aid budget reinforce our commitment to climate justice and a genuinely just transition.
“Our progressive climate proposals would cut emissions, help meet our climate targets and deliver significant benefits to citizens. This government would do well to take note.”