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Eamon Ryan outlines Green Party's key demands for potential coalition partners

Eamon Ryan outlines Green Party's key demands for potential coalition partners

Putting an end to gas and oil exploration, ensuring Irish Water remains in public ownership and retrofitting homes at a cost of €50bn are among some key demands the Green Party is likely to make of potential coalition partners.

In the wake of the local and European elections combined with fresh talk of an early General Election, the Greens are now seen as potential kingmakers in the next Government.

Speaking today, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan set out specific demands he wants to see delivered by this Dáil before any deals can be done.

He said that the week after next the Oireachtas Committee will be debating the Climate Emergencies Bill which provides for an end to oil and gas exploration in Irish waters.

“If Fine Gael are serious about this then let's put that through,” he said.

He also called for the Government to drop its two-year opposition to the Waste Reduction Bill to help end the waste of plastics.

He also called for the scrapping of the current National Development Plan and Ireland 2040, which he said are not fit for purpose.

“One of the key recommendations of the Citizen's Assembly, is to move the Transport Budget from 2:1 roads to public transport, to 2:1 public transport to roads, we also want to allocate 20% of the overall transport budget to walking and cycling, if we're serious about climate change that's what we need to do.”

He also said there is a need for a new national land use plan that would have to see us doing a completely different forestry strategy to protect our wetlands and stop cutting our bogs immediately.

Mr Ryan says we must move to a completely different form of farming, that pays farmers better for looking after nature.

“We still have huge opposition from Minister Michael Creed, we still have huge opposition. There are still plans to keep cutting peat until 2027 - we are in a climate and biodiversity emergency, we need to respond to that with emergency measures,” he said.

In relation to water, Mr Ryan his party wants legal certainty and agreement to improve the quality of water to be enshrined in the Constitution. This could be done at the same time as the proposed referendum on the ownership of Irish Water, he said.

“There was an agreement in that Oireachtas Committee that we would have a referendum on the ownership of water, which I believe is important,” he said.

He stopped short of calling for a re-introduction of water charges but said the entity Irish Water must remain in public ownership.

“I'd like to give legal certainty to the likes of improving water quality by stitching it into our constitution. That would be the next best step. Rather than going back to the whole water charges row,” he said.

He said he supports water charges for wasteful use. He warned that there is still a "huge issue" with water quality in Ireland.

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