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Bruton appeals to Greens to back coalition deal saying Ireland will be in 'vanguard' of climate change fight

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Richard Bruton. Picture: Collins

Richard Bruton. Picture: Collins

Richard Bruton. Picture: Collins

Minister Richard Bruton has appealed to Green Party members to back the proposed coalition deal saying it will put Ireland in the "vanguard" of countries when it comes to battling climate change.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Green Party members are this week voting on the proposed government deal.

Two-thirds of Green Party members must approve the deal for the government to be formed - the highest bar of any of the parties.

Climate Action Minister Mr Bruton today set out the argument he would make to Green Party members considering whether or not to back the Programme for Government highlighting its commitments for how Ireland will fight climate change.

He said: "I genuinely think that this will put us in the vanguard of countries.

"We have committed to a 7pc per annum reduction in our greenhouse gases

"Only Denmark has aspired to do that within the European Union.

"This is a level of ambition well beyond EU Green Deal."

He said the deal includes "very exciting policy platforms" including offshore energy, encouraging a shift to cycling and walking, retrofitting homes for energy efficiency, and changes have can be made to farming.

The Fine Gael minister said major projects and the kind of infrastructure that will be put in place "will move away from the fossil fuel legacy that is dragging down this country in terms of its climate impact."

"This is a very bold and courageous set of policies," he added.

He said that ambitions plans have previously been delivered upon - citing the Action Plan for Jobs after the last recession which exceeded a target of creating 100,000 jobs by 2016.

He said this approach would be embedded in law for the roll-out of climate action.

Mr Bruton was asked about opposition to the deal among the Green Party's elected representatives in Northern Ireland.

Almost 200 Green Party members in the North are eligible to vote on the government deal here.

Mr Burton said he respects the Green Party's rules and said that some who have commented on their opposition to the deal have still said they will support the majority decision.

Mr Bruton was speaking as he published legislation to establish a €500m Climate Action Fund.

The funds will come from the National Oil Reserves Agency over the course of a decade and comes from a 2c-per-litre levy on oil.

Projects already in line for the funding include a district heating initiative in Dublin and the roll-out of an e-charging networks for electric cars.

Online Editors