Thursday 22 February 2018

Fianna Fail TDs threaten to vote down bill on climate

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE GREEN Party could be forced to back down on a key piece of legislation it wants passed before the election after Fianna Fail TDs warned they may not vote for it.

The Climate Change Bill has come up against opposition from Fianna Fail TDs and business and farming groups who fear proposed cuts to emissions are too draconian and may drive up costs, which the Greens deny.

The Greens were warned yesterday that some Fianna Fail TDs would not vote for the bill which requires deep cuts in carbon emissions to meet legally binding EU targets and move Ireland to a low-carbon economy.

Emissions will have to fall by 2.5pc a year, or by 1.6 million tonnes, by 2020. This is the equivalent of turning off the heat and light in 300,000 homes for a year.

Although the measures are greater than ones demanded by the EU, the Greens say the bill will reposition the economy for future growth and help create green jobs.

Sectors of the economy will have to meet their own individual targets, which has caused concern among some groups, such as the Irish Farmers' Association. But the targets for areas like agriculture can be adjusted after the bill becomes law, if it is felt one area of the economy is contributing enough.

Green junior minister Ciaran Cuffe yesterday said he did not want to see the bill watered down, but said there could be compromise.

"Any piece of legislation, there is always a certain amount of horse-trading as you go through, but we believe that the principles are laid out in the bill and we'd hate to see any huge deviation from those," Mr Cuffe said.

Galway West Fianna Fail TD Frank Fahey said the Greens may have to back off on demands that their legislation on climate change, the Dublin mayor and restricting corporate donations are passed before the election.


"If the Green Party expect me to go into the Dail and vote for their Green legislation without giving the prerogative to the Taoiseach to call an election when he chooses, I'm certainly not going to do that," Mr Fahey told RTE radio.

"Quite a number of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party will not go into the Dail to vote this legislation through on the basis that at soon as it's done, the Greens are insisting on an election."

As well as the Green Party bills, the Government wants to pass bills on white-collar crime and the regulation of online betting, amongst others.

Irish Independent

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