Tuesday 15 October 2019

Water bottles at dawn as Casey tackles McHugh: 'If Greens are really sincere they'd stop using plastic bottles'

Saoirse McHugh at the Castlebar Count Centre. Photo: Michael McLaughlin
Saoirse McHugh at the Castlebar Count Centre. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

Callum Lavery

European election candidate Peter Casey has criticised Green Party candidates for using plastic water bottles.

Speaking on RTE Radio One this morning, Mr Casey said that Green Party members should not be using single-use plastic water bottles if they were "serious" about the green movement.

"This is a protest vote," he said of their local election success.

"The environment of course, everyone is concerned about it, we’ve got global warming, everyone is concerned about it. 

"I believe if the Greens are really sincere about the environment they would tell their members to stop using plastic bottles."

Green Party European election candidate Saoirse McHugh responded to Casey's comments, saying that individual environmental responsibility can go "only so far."

Peter Casey is running in the European Elections. Photo: David Conachy
Peter Casey is running in the European Elections. Photo: David Conachy

"We need systems, we need top down change like there is only so far personal responsibility and keep cups can get you," she said.

"We do need to address the big polluters and they are the big businesses. And that is the reason why I would worried that we are not really looking at the scale of this. It’s not just going to be: don’t use plastic bottles. "

McHugh was also questioned on her comments to the Sunday Business Post that she would quit the Green Party if they formed a coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.

McHugh told the Business Post that she did not believe either party would be willing to impose systematic change regarding environmental policy.

McHugh's comments on today's radio show were less impulsive.

"I suppose it will be decided by the members. The members will vote on it. Everyone in the party has their own opinion. I answered the question yesterday.... I know [I'm making headlines on it].

"I did say that. I don't want to dwell on it. I was pushed on that question. I didn't come out with some big statement. That's my opinion, it's where I stand.

"I know there are reasons both for and against... I feel, this is just my opinion. The scale and the challenge we're facing now... FG and FF may not have it in them for the massive system change," she added.

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