Hogan heckled, despite being in another country

Environment Minister Phil Hogan was heckled during the budget speeches — even though he was thousands of miles away at the time.

Mr Hogan has been attending a UN climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, since late last week.

When Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin cited Mr Hogan in his speech yesterday — praising his “radical” programme of local government reform — it was met with jeers and laughter from some opposition TDs.

Mr Hogan addressed the conference yesterday and said international co-operation was crucial in tackling climate change.

He said there was “limited scope” for countries acting alone to combat the problem.

“It is only by continuing to engage proactively with international organisations through EU and UN structures that we can have optimum effect in terms of developing an ambitious and deliverable global strategy to keep the planetary temperature increase below 2C.

“The EU is on target to meet their 20% emission reduction target by 2020 which is mandated in legislation throughout all its 27 member states.

“However, the EU accounts for only 11% of global emissions, so we need others to also do more in terms of emissions reductions, in parallel with the increased efforts of the EU,” he said.

In relation to Ireland’s efforts, he said: “I expect to announce details of additional initiatives in this regard in the coming weeks, all designed to move Ireland further along the transition to a low-carbon future.”

But Friends of the Earth said fine words were “easy” and that binding targets were the real test.

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