Fitzmaurice takes aim at rural TDs over Climate Bill

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice says the passage of the Climate Bill through Dáil Éireann is “an attack on rural Ireland” and that farmers and those who must commute to work need to realise how their local representatives voted.

The Roscommon Galway TD also claims the Bill is going to be “detrimental” for democracy in Ireland.

“The parties will say that representatives will have an input on the sectorial emission ceilings, but the reality is that the Minister can overrule them if a target cannot be agreed.

“The Climate Change Advisory Council is going to have a significant say moving forward when it comes to these targets. As it stands, we have a member of that council who has openly called for cuts to the national herd – despite all of the evidence against the merits of this proposal. It is imperative that the make-up of this council fairly represents the population of Ireland and that rural Ireland and the agriculture sector is fairly represented on it,” he said.

Deputy Fitzmaurice said that a situation cannot be allowed to develop where the bulk of the council is made of “professors and academics who have no experience of what goes on in rural Ireland”.

“I have said repeatedly that Ireland is staring down the barrel of potential energy blackouts by 2026 if we continue down this road. The Greens continue to harp on about the move to renewable energy. But building offshore wind farms takes time, and it will be years before they are up and running. Hydrogen technology is still a few years away from being viable,” he said.

The Roscommon Galway TD claimed that data centres in Dublin had been forced to order “tanker loads of oil” because the ESB cannot guarantee a power supply.

“We are importing peat and briquettes from abroad, while Bord na Móna is being forced to cease its peat harvesting operations. We are reducing our ability to create power, but we are pushing to retrofit homes and increase the number of electric cars on the road – but where will the power come from to heat these homes or drive these cars?”

Deputy Fitzmaurice added that there was very little evidence of a ‘just transition’ and questioned where new jobs would come from to replace those lost through Bord na Móna closures.

“This Climate Bill will be detrimental for rural Ireland in particular, and I cannot understand how rural TDs from the likes of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael could have voted in favour of this,” he concluded.