Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said Government must consider structural change on a larger level if it is serious about tackling climate change.
Addressing the Dáil today (Wednesday), Deputy Pringle said: “Yesterday Minister Donohoe said that carbon taxation is the single most effective climate policy, which is complete and utter nonsense.”
He said: “Carbon taxes like this do nothing but push people into fuel poverty and actually do very little to make any sort of real change. It is not an effective way to stop people owning and driving fuel-run cars. It only forces people to pay more for the cars that they have to drive.
The deputy cited a wind and hydro project proposed more than 10 years ago through Spirit of Ireland in Kilcar, which sought to harness wind energy by using Donegal’s natural coastal valleys to provide hydro storage reservoirs.
Deputy Pringle said: “The expertise and the technology is there. It has been done before. All that is required is commitment and a bit of ambition from the government. It’s time to think bigger.”
He said former Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, told mica-affected families more than two years ago that people in Donegal cannot be treated differently to those who benefitted from pyrite redress.
Deputy Pringle said: “It begs the question of whether what was announced yesterday are new initiatives or just old, empty promises.”
Similarly, he said, Budget 2022 announced free GP care for children aged six and seven, while Budget 2020 had announced free GP care for children under eight. And former Health Minister, Simon Harris, committed to deliver the roll-out of free contraception by the end of 2019.
Deputy Pringle said: “It is clear that the greenest part of this Government is the constant recycling of old promises.”