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‘Wind is Ireland’s oil,’ says Martin as EU moves away from Russian energy

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Micheál Martin during a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum

Micheál Martin during a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said Europe’s move away from Russian oil could present an opportunity for the country, as “wind is Ireland’s oil”.

Speaking to Bloomberg TV yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said Ireland aims to be exporting energy by mid-2030. He was part of a panel alongside the leaders of the Netherlands and Slovakia.

“Our fundamental challenge in terms of moving to renewables will be structural, delivery, planning, we’re working on that. We’ve now created a streamlined planning framework for offshore wind development in Ireland.

“For the next decade, the big investment in Ireland will be in offshore wind, we’ve one of the windiest coasts in the world, particularly in the western seaboard,” he said.

“So, wind is Ireland’s oil and that’s how we’re going to play it for the long term.

“Certainly, by the mid-2030s we want to be exporting energy and that’s our ambition.

“What the war in Ukraine is teaching us, and indeed the rest of Europe, there’s only one journey here, it’s a journey towards renewables and we’re going to have to double down on that.

“I think this is a watershed actually in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables and I actually see an acceleration and a lessening of the dependency on oil and gas.”

Mr Martin added that the inflation crisis will “get worse towards the end of the year” but this was part of Vladimir Putin’s war aims and democracies must “hold the line”. He said “fundamental values” such as democracy, freedom of speech and free media are on the line.

“Various governments are taking measures to ease the pressure on people, but the war is having an impact and the war has many facets to it.

“Putin knows what he’s doing in terms of creating the terror in Ukraine that’s led to a huge humanitarian and energy crisis,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Martin questioned whether there was a “will” in the UK to resolve the issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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“Disputes of this kind need a will to resolve them.

“I’ve questioned myself whether that will exists, particularly within the United Kingdom government, for quite some time.”

He said it is his view that the UK government hasn’t given negotiations “a chance”.


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