“Ireland’s poor performance in the Climate Change Performance Index is indicative of the Government’s abject failure to take seriously the threat of climate change, and to prepare Ireland for the wholesale changes that are required to meet our international obligations to protect our planet,” said Fianna Fáil’s Communications, Climate Action and Environment Spokesperson, Timmy Dooley TD.

Deputy Dooley was commenting as Ireland was, for the second year in a row, ranked last among the 28 members of the European Union in the latest report.

“Put simply, we are bottom of the class and falling further and further behind as time goes by. Remedial action is now required and Minister Bruton must ramp up Ireland’s response to this existential threat.

“Climate change is real, and sticking our heads in the sand is no longer acceptable. It’s no longer something that affects people in far flung locations; it’s having an impact here in Ireland with unusual weather patterns including drought, freak storms and heavier than normal weather.

“It is frankly embarrassing that Ireland is being mentioned in the same breath as the USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia when it comes to dealing with climate change. These countries are some of the largest fuel producing states in the world.

“Ireland has no massive oil or gas fields getting in the way of us acting here. The problem stems from what appears to be a complete disinterest in tackling even the low hanging fruit. To be deemed as one of the ‘very low performing countries’ is no longer acceptable.

“While the report rightly identifies positive actions such as the work of the Citizen’s Assembly and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, their impact is limited in the face of inaction on the part of the government.

“It is our lack of action and progress on a domestic level to meet our international commitments that is holding us back.

“The political will, at the heart of government, is simply not there. The Taoiseach, just like on many others issues, talks a good game but when real action is needed, nothing is forthcoming.

“Last week’s Annual Transition Statements saw just one senior minister out of seven turn up to present their plans to the Dáil. If this is the level of commitment that we can expect from the government, we can look forward to more woeful rankings like this in the years to come,” concluded Dooley.