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Ergo: €50m State car contract will be canary for green policies

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Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Collins Dublin, Garrett White

Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Collins Dublin, Garrett White

Collins Dublin, Garrett White

Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Collins Dublin, Garrett White

Climate change never quite became the hot topic in the run-in to the election that many thought it would. It was largely squeezed out by more immediate topics such as housing and healthcare, not to mention the heat and fire generated by Sinn Féin's surge in the polls.

But the thing about climate change is that, talk about it or don't talk about it, it is happening relentlessly and is sure to present major challenges to whichever parties manage to harness the mandate they receive as the ballot boxes are counted this morning.

In potentially one of his last acts as a minister, Paschal Donohoe, through the Office of Government Procurement, last week issued a tender invitation seeking a supplier of cars and pick-up trucks for a contract that, according to documents, may be worth €50m over 10 years.

That, of course, will have been of great interest to car suppliers. But it may also interest those who want to measure how much of what the new government says about its green agenda is spin and how much of it is real.

Vehicles will be ordered by public sector bodies, including the Defence Forces, An Garda Síochána, the Prison Service, the health service, Government departments, local authorities and educational institutions. Vehicles supplied under the contract can be fuelled by diesel, unleaded petrol, electricity, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, or any other energy source developed during the term of the contract.

Just what fuel mix is chosen by the wider public sector will go a long way to signposting where things are really at with ambitious pre-election targets for low-emission transport.

Coronavirus could boost short-haul business: Ryanair

Ryanair group chief executive Michael O’Leary has said the spread of coronavirus could be good for aviation in Europe, as more people will holiday closer to home.

During a results call with analysts, O’Leary talked of how the outbreak of SARS in China influenced business back in 2002, and how this might play out with coronavirus. “Our experience with the SARS, and the avian bird flu five, six years ago was that actually it was mildly good for the short-haul business here in Europe,” he said.

“More people were likely to holiday in Europe rather than travelling long-haul to Asia etc, and we would think that will play out again.”

Looking to the future, O’Leary said that Ryanair could be set for a positive 2021, but was cautious against things that might go wrong, like a “coronavirus epidemic”.

- Leaving the coronavirus, there continues to be significant interest in Chinese business relations with the west. The Bank of China’s acquisition of Goodbody brings Chinese business interests closer than ever to Ireland.

The detailed approval of the deal by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission notes that Bank of China is owned by the Chinese state’s China Investment Corporation (CIC).

It is wholly owned by the state but there has been “extensive delegation to the Bank of China’s board by CIC”, it says.

Sunday Indo Business