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#Elections2019: Richard Bruton: Government taking green challenge 'very seriously'

#Elections2019: Richard Bruton: Government taking green challenge 'very seriously'

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton has said that the Government is taking the 'green' challenge "very seriously".

He said his job is to take the report of the Citizen's Assembly on Climate Change and "carve out a pathway."

Mr Bruton told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland he has "very ambitious" plans to “shift away from fossil fuels.”

When asked about the Government’s position on the granting of exploration rights, he said: "our problem is excessive dependency on fossil fuels, not excessive exploration."

He said there has to be an increase from 30% to 70% use of renewable energy. There has to be “a fall back plan” for when “the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.”

The Minister also confirmed that a carbon tax is likely in the next Budget. However, he said there needs to be the means to help people 'decarbonise' their lives.

Mr Bruton said he was viewing the glass as half full after the party’s performance in the local elections.

Lessons will have to be learned from Fine Gael's “disappointing” performance.

I would like to have seen more seats.

There had been a surge of interest in green issues and lessons will have to be learned, he said.

Asked about the Taoiseach's comments about the possibility of a general election, Mr Bruton said that he wants to get on with business, but acknowledged that an election could come for any reason.

“The Taoiseach has always said he would like an election in June next year. We just want to get on with business.”

Like the boy scouts, he said, the party would have to be ready for whatever happens.

"Anything could happen. We have a full agenda. We have delivered full employment, we have the capacity to deliver changes.”

He welcomed Michaeál Martin’s comments that Fianna Fáil would support the Budget next October. “That’s encouraging. Brexit is the priority."

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