Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action & Environment Timmy Dooley TD has welcomed the Taoiseach’s decision to support Fianna Fáil’s position on carbon tax revenues.

Deputy Dooley’s comments follow the news that the Taoiseach is to tell the UN that all new revenues raised by increased carbon taxes in Ireland will be ringfenced to pay for climate action measures and to ensure that vulnerable households are protected.

“I am very pleased that the Fine Gael government has suddenly changed its position regarding carbon tax and is now supporting the approach laid down by Fianna Fáil at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action”, stated Deputy Dooley.

“Fianna Fáil has been very clear from the outset: It would be unacceptable to bring in a carbon tax without ensuring that vulnerable are protected from fuel poverty. Revenues should also be used to support behavioural change. I’m glad that the Taoiseach has finally come around to this way of thinking.

“We have consistently stated that a legislated ring-fenced fund should be created that would also be devoted to climate measures. Where the carbon tax is increased, revenues need to be directed at helping citizens, such as grants and incentives for retrofits, rooftop solar on farm buildings and initiatives to ensure a just transition.

“The Oireachtas Committee discussed the introduction of a carbon tax increase from €20 to €80 by 2030 for several months. Fianna Fáil secured a recommendation in the Committee’s final report that prior to any increase in carbon tax, specific measures must be introduced to protect those vulnerable to fuel poverty. We also specified that revenues would have to be ringfenced in legislation to assist people who may not be in a position to immediately transition from fossil fuels, with the midlands a particular priority.

“In signing off the Oireachtas’ Committee’s report, Fine Gael committed to taking forward Fianna Fáil’s approach, however since then there has been little progress. No protective measures have been introduced and there has been no commitment to support behavioural change through retrofitting. The government has also failed to establish a National Just Transition Task Force to address job losses and to support workers and communities which will be impacted by the transition to a greener agenda.

“The Taoiseach’s new pledge is an indication that government is finally listening to Fianna Fáil. We now need to see legislation in place to ringfence the carbon tax increases, as well as a National Just Transition Task Force”, concluded Deputy Dooley.