Letter to the Editor: Fine Gael beholden to the fossil fuel lobby

I am calling on the Fine Gael Government to withdraw from blocking the Climate Emergency Measures Bill which is being, once again held hostage by procedural trickery. It should go to the Oireachtas select committee where it could be debated and scrutinised by all parties.

I will question Minister Sean Canney on the reasons his Government is blocking the bill again. It should have been before a select committee in the Dáil but has been blocked by a last-minute Government demand that it needs a “money message”. This is a mechanism to stop opposition bills when the government claims it will result in a claim on public monies.

The time for messing around is over. Time is running out and we have 11 years to radically change our system to avoid being locked into evermore increasing atmospheric temperatures which would have catastrophic consequences for the planet and ecosystems.

Fine Gael is doing everything in its power, and in most cases by underhanded means, to scupper the bill, which would deliver the fundamental demand of the environmental movement across the world: Keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

Fine Gael has patted the backs of the school climate strikers and told them how great they are and that the Government is listening. If ever there was an example of blatant greenwashing this is it. Fine Gael is beholden to the fossil fuel lobby and corporations and is failing to protect our environment or to address our carbon emissions which are going through the roof and will miss the binding targets we have been set for 2020 and beyond.

Ireland can be a beacon to the world. We have an opportunity to draw a line in the sand and say we are turning off the tap for fossil fuel extraction. For this bill to pass it would take a mass movement of everyone who understands that we have to stop drilling for more fossil fuels. We have to take this issue out of the hands of the environmental saboteurs: Fine Gael and their buddies in the fossil fuel industry.

We intend to show the Government the growing movement will hold them to account and expose how every one of its arguments against this bill is bogus and fake. Its position is dictated to by the fossil fuel industry, not by concerns on energy security or reducing our emissions. Icelandic MP, Andrés Ingi Jónsson has introduced a bill in the Icelandic parliament to put a stop to possible fossil fuel extraction in Icelandic waters. Researching for that bill made him aware of my bill and as a result, his employs the same methodology as the Climate Emergency Measures Bill — proof that other countries are looking at what we in Ireland are doing.

Brid Smith
People Before Profit TD
Dublin South Central

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