Sinn Féin’s lack of clear climate action policies are a potential risk to the planet, Fine Gael Climate Action Spokesperson Alan Farrell has said.
Deputy Farrell, from Dublin Fingal said, “Climate change is the single biggest issue facing the planet. We face a challenge that threatens the very existence of our species and despite this, the main opposition party in Ireland, Sinn Féin, has no credible policies in place.
“As we see climate related records being broken across Europe and the world, we as a country, need to act and to be clear about where we are, and where we are going.
“Fine Gael in Government, produced the first ever Climate Action Plan (2019) and this was updated in 2021 to match our growing ambition, including developing clean public transport; emissions reductions; significantly expanding the share of renewable electricity in our grid; and transforming home heating and energy; along with much more.”
Deputy Farrell said this stood “in stark contrast” to Sinn Féin, who he said have not revealed “any clear policies” with regard to how we will achieve our 2030 target of reducing emissions by 51%, and to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
Deputy Farrell, referring to Sinn Féin, said “sitting on the fence” was not a credible position for the “so-called lead opposition party.”
Sinn Féin must “take a side”, in favour of carbon reductions on sectoral emissions, “or join the ranks of climate deniers who have no place in our political system”, he said.
He added: “Just last year when Fine Gael in Government were seeking to increase the amount of wind energy we produce in Ireland, something that will not only benefit the environment but also create jobs; Sinn Féin were forced to withdraw a Bill that would have seen many onshore wind energy projects banned in Ireland.
"Trying to be all things to all people apparently has its drawbacks.”
He continued: “Sinn Féin’s climate spokesperson, Darren O’Rourke, has said the party has no position on carbon emissions targets within the agriculture sector. This simply is not good enough.
“Deputy O’Rourke has also said that Sinn Féin would not put forward any specific targets to the public, if there were a General Election in the near future. This is despite Deputy O’Rourke also claiming that the Government’s Climate Action Plan in 2021 lacked leadership and was short on detail.
"The irony of this would be amusing, if it were not dealing with such a serious topic.”
Deputy Farrell said there has been a pattern of Sinn Féin using climate issues in the Dáil when it suits them politically, and ignoring climate issues when it does not.
Deputy Farrell said it is a “disgrace” that any political party, particularly a large opposition party such as Sinn Féin, would not have a clear plan for tackling “the biggest issue facing us as a nation and as a global community.”
"In my opinion”, he concluded, “Sinn Féin’s lack of climate policies pose a danger to future of our environment and our planet.”