Politics

Friday 25 July 2014

Eamon Ryan says he'll stay in Europe for five years if he's an MEP

Fionnan Sheahan

Published 08/03/2014|18:37

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24/9/2010. Energy Minister Eamon Ryan is pictured ...24/9/2010. Energy Minister Eamon Ryan is pictured at a conference on energy retrofitting of Irish buildings at the Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin. Picture James Horan/Collins
Eamon Ryan

GREEN Party leader Eamon Ryan says he will see out his five year term if he is elected to the European Parliament.

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The former Communications Minister also attacked Fine Gael strategist Frank Flannery, who is being called before the Dail PAC over his role with Rehab.

repeatedly attacked the Labour Party asking why are the junior coalition partners "so willing to swallow Fine Gael's big business agenda".

Speaking at his party's convention in Dublin, Mr Ryan said he will not run in the next general election if he is an MEP.                                                                                          "If I have the honour of being elected to represent my city and country in the next European Parliament, then I am committing to being there for the five full five years. I enter the election race presuming that every other candidate has the same intention, and would love to hear if anyone thinks differently," he said.

"No ifs, no buts, no maybes," he added.

The Greens leader also called for the introduction of a register of lobbyists, citing the example of Mr Flannery lobbying for Rehab, while also working with the Fine Gael leadership.

"The way Frank Flannery walks the corridors of power, paid by a charity to lunch with his Ministerial friends, scorning an Oireachtas committee, where he has real questions to answer about Complete Eco Solutions. Complete ego solutions would have been a better name," he said.

Mr Ryan was also critical of the collapse of the deal with Britain to trade renewable energy.

The move has resulted in the plan to build windfarms in the midlands being shelved.

"Our Government got the whole midlands project wrong from the start. It was a text book case in how to lose the support of rural communities. As if following a John B Keane script, they allowed companies sign-up local farmers into deals before anything was decided, which split the local communities in two. By not keeping public hold of the wires, and by not promoting community ownership, they allowed the worst possible narrative to develop: ‘We were selling out to the Brits’," he said.

"Maybe it was not a bad thing, that everything has been put on hold. We can start again,; and get it right this time. It still makes sense for us to link up with our neighbours. It will make it easier and cheaper for us to move to a zero-carbon power system. The storms that battered our shores this winter are the wake-up call that tells us that climate change is real, and that we have to make that move," he added.

Mr Ryan said Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte should ask Judge Catherine McGuinness, who is already examining whether the new electricity grid should go underground or overground, "who should own the new power supply".

"There is no reason we couldn’t restore the ownership of power to the people, giving more favourable terms and investment opportunities to those who live within a certain distance of any new wind farm," he said.

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