Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action & Environment Timmy Dooley TD says his party was instrumental in ensuring that revenues from an increase in carbon tax will be ringfenced for specific environmental measures.

Deputy Dooley says this money must be used to ensure that people at risk of fuel poverty are protected, that those in communities affected by a reduction in peat and coal fired electricity generation are helped as part of a just transition; and to encourage people to adapt their behaviour towards a more environmentally friendly way of living.

“Fianna Fáil has always had a strong record on climate change measures. We first introduced a carbon tax in 2010 and recognised the need to increase the tax once the revenues are set aside for specific climate action measures. We stood firm on this position and are pleased to have secured this provision in Budget 2020”, said Deputy Dooley.

“However, it is important to recognise that a carbon tax is only one element of what needs to be a much broader climate change agenda. The revenues raised through the tax increase must be used to ensure that vulnerable people are protected from fuel poverty, as well as supporting behavioural change to help people adapt.

“The €31m Just Transition fund is a starting point, but it is imperative that the communities most affected by the ESB and Bord na Mona closures are protected. The government also needs to extend this fund to support communities in Clare which are dealing with the reduced activity and job losses at Moneypoint. These companies have been the lifeblood of these rural areas for generations and their workers cannot be abandoned.

“Ireland has fallen behind the majority of other EU member States when it comes to action on climate change. It took Fine Gael eight years to put together a climate strategy and implement the necessary measures to reduce emissions. Fianna Fáil is committed to ensuring that Ireland plays its part and meets our obligations at EU and UN level.

“We have secured a number of measures in this Budget, which will put us on the right path, but we have to get serious about addressing issues like congestion, air pollution and biodiversity”, concluded Deputy Dooley.