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Varadkar 'trying to eat less meat' to reduce carbon footprint

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An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar comes face to face with this little piggy as he chats  at the Virginia Agricultural Show on Wednesday afternoon.  Photo: Lorraine Teevan

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar comes face to face with this little piggy as he chats at the Virginia Agricultural Show on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carons/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Niall Carons/PA)

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An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar comes face to face with this little piggy as he chats at the Virginia Agricultural Show on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has said he's trying to eat meat less as part of his own efforts to reduce his carbon footprint.

However, he admitted that this is probably offset by the amount of travel he is doing.

Mr Varadkar was speaking at Fine Gael's parliamentary party meeting ahead of the new Dáil term.

Tackling climate change is on the party's agenda for discussion.

Mr Varadkar was asked what he's done to reduce his own personal carbon-footprint.

He said: “I am trying to eat less meat both for health reasons and for reasons of climate change.

“But I'd imagine given the amount of travel I do... I'm probably not the best example.”

He also encouraged government ministers to choose a hybrid or electric vehicle when they are changing their cars.

It's believed that just one – climate action minister Richard Bruton – has a hybrid car.

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste are provided with State cars while other ministers use their own personal vehicles.

Mr Varadkar said it's something that needs to change and that more of the public fleet should be hybrid, electric or low emission vehicles.

He said: “I think the government needs to lead by example”.

He said that “huge amount” of carbon is used in making cars and this contributes to climate change before they're even driven.

But Mr Varadkar also said: “When the time comes for them [ministers] to buy a new car I think perhaps buying hybrid or an electric vehicle would be the right thing to do.”

He said the government is working with the ESB to make sure there's more electric vehicle charging points around the country.

He said people have “range anxiety” that their cars will run out of power before they reach their destinations and more charging points will mean they're more likely to buy electric in future.

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