Enda Kenny to meet world leaders at climate conference in Paris

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet national leaders from across the globe under tight security in Paris today as part of a major climate change conference that is being seen as a “gesture of solidarity” with France.

Enda Kenny to meet world leaders at climate conference in Paris

The Fine Gael leader will be flanked by Labour’s deputy leader and Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Communications Minister Alex White.

He will attend the city, which was attacked by Islamic State a fortnight ago, as part of the worldwide UN climate change talks this morning.

It is understood Mr Kenny will tell the meeting that a deal limiting global temperature increases through low carbon initiatives is needed.

He will outline policies introduced by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition to tackle the issue, while also setting out Ireland’s support for developing countries’ attempts to adapt to the everyday effects of climate change on their nations.

While the event was planned far in advance of the Paris attacks which left 130 people dead and more than 350 injured, it is also expected to double up as a show of strength in support of France by world leaders, who will be attending under tight security.

Environmental campaigners are also expected to protest outside in large numbers, despite the French government issuing a temporary state of emergency which bars such acts due to the terrorist attacks.

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton yesterday told reporters the Taoiseach’s visit is “very much a gesture of solidarity with Paris”, adding that it is similar to her party colleague and junior minister Sean Sherlock’s visit to Liberia last year “at the height of the crisis with ebola”.

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton

“They [Mr Kenny, Mr Kelly, and Mr White] are very happy to be going, and they will be taking a message from Ireland of solidarity with Paris,” said Ms Burton.

Meanwhile, it is expected that the Government’s weekly cabinet meeting tomorrow will agree upon plans to fast-track Mr Kelly and Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s rent package so it can be signed into law by President Michael D Higgins later this week.

There is unlikely to be any significant discussion on the ongoing IBRC controversy other than an update on matters from the attorney general Maire Whelan.

A Fine Gael spokesperson said last night that no debate on the abortion issue within the party is planned to take place as Mr Kenny has already made his position clear “a number of times”.

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