Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Timmy Dooley has said that the Taoiseach’s past actions as Minister for Transport don’t bode well for his commitment to championing a climate revolution in Ireland.

Deputy Dooley was commenting as the Government’s National Mitigation Strategy to reduce carbon emissions in Ireland was launched today.

“Ireland does not need endless lists of outmoded ideas and half-hearted plans. We need real, credible action that will bring about the emissions reductions that we need, and that will help us to create a greener, cleaner future for our grandchildren.

“I raised these concerns before when the Draft Mitigation Plan was published, and I am disappointed to see that the Government has failed to respond and act.

“Worryingly, the plan fails to see the opportunities that climate change presents to us. For example, measures to green our transport system have huge knock-on benefits for our citizens. Towns and cities that are easy to walk and cycle around are happy, healthy communities, not to mention that electric transport does not produce the same poisonous fumes as diesel and petrol vehicles do.

“The Taoiseach’s own record as Minister for Transport is very disappointing. During his speech upon his nomination as Taoiseach, Mr Varadkar said ‘I am determined that the Government should show new ambition when it comes to tackling climate change by setting out a roadmap to a low carbon economy.’

“This is a lofty ambition, and one that if said by someone else, might give us hope, but the Taoiseach has unfortunately a habit of saying all the right things, but generally failing to deliver on his words.

“Ireland is falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to greening our transport sector. Currently, there are about 2,000 electric cars in Ireland compared to about 150,000 in Norway.

“Why is the Government not committing to improving our electric vehicle charging infrastructure?

“The reality is that the rest of Europe is far and ahead of us because of political leadership. The Taoiseach, during his time in the Transport Department, failed to show the leadership needed to deliver schemes that make using electric and hybrid cars more attractive to motorists.

“The National Mitigation Strategy lacks vision and ambition. It will do nothing to make Ireland a greener and more efficient country.

“Minister Naughten, with regards to emissions from housing, seems happy to rehash old commitments and ideas, and claim them as new.

“I find it laughable that the Strategy makes a big deal about the public sector becoming more energy efficient. There’s nothing new in this, and to be fair to the public sector, they have led the way on this issue. So why are there five “action points” dedicated to this?”

“As Friends of the Earth, Director Oisin Coughlan recently commented, ‘so far Ireland’s climate action is closer to Trump than Trudeau.

“As someone who is clearly modelling himself on Prime Minister Trudeau, this should spur the Taoiseach into action, but his past actions do not fill me with hope.

“I will be pushing the Minister and this Government to adopt some concrete proposals and to face up to their responsibility to protect Ireland against catastrophic climate change.” concluded Dooley.