'Commit to the 7% and then we'll talk,' Catherine Martin reacts to Tánaiste's 'shocking' comments

A war of words has broken out between the Green Party and Fine Gael over emissions targets.
'Commit to the 7% and then we'll talk,' Catherine Martin reacts to Tánaiste's 'shocking' comments

A war of words has broken out between the Green Party and Fine Gael over emissions targets.

While the Green Party are still mulling over the offer of government formation from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, deputy leader Catherine Martin has come out swinging against comments from Tánaiste Simon Coveney in today's Irish Examiner.

Mr Coveney told the Examiner that the Green Party's red line of a 7% emissions reduction, would have to be forgotten about if it hurts farmers.

Mr Coveney said: “I am not going to put farmers out of business.

“Nothing has been ruled out effectively. But, there are some things you simply can’t say yes to without figuring out how it’s going to be done,” he said.

“If it decimates rural Ireland, we’re not doing it.

"Let’s be very clear on that, we are not going to sign up to a programme for government that decimates rural Ireland. That’ll never happen, even if that means another election,” he said.

Ms Martin appeared on RTE's Sean O'Rourke programme today, saying that she found Mr Coveney's comments "quite shocking".

"This is not the Green Party's 7%, this target comes from the Paris Agreement, unless we reduce by 7% we are facing catastrophic damage to the planet.

It was Fine Gael who signed this, it's disturbing, alarm bells are ringing.

"Alarm bells are also ringing over their stances on public housing, direct provision and key social issues."

When debating Fine Gael's Dublin South-West TD Colm Brophy over the target, Ms Martin said his party were being disingenuous about the issue, which has already been debated at a Citizen's Assembly and recommended by an Oireachtas Committee.

Ms Martin said that Mr Coveney was "playing to his voters".

"Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael know exactly what needs to be done, they just don't want to do it," Ms Martin said.

"The Tánaiste's intervention today is unhelpful, it's the start of negative framing of what can only be a better quality of life.

It's about doing the right thing, we have to change how we do public transport, they would not commit to that, it's about remote working, it's about changing the costs of congestion, costing from €350m a year, or stopping the import of €6bn a year of fossil fuel imports.

"It's hard to believe you don't know.

"Commit to the 7% and then we'll talk - commit to the 7%.

"Let's be honest, we had farmers protesting on the streets for the last six months, they have more to fear from Fine Gael than the Green Party, they were protesting Fine Gael, not the Greens."

Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin.
Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin.

Ms Martin that her party are "not a party of opposition" and are giving real consideration to entering government, but made it clear that Mr Coveney and Mr Brophy's statements would be a setback.

The Green Party are to meet again this afternoon for a third day of discussions on Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael's letter in which they set out responses to 17 of the Green Party's queries on their priorities for government.

Ms Martin says she remains opened minded, but added that Mr Coveney's comments are likely to cause upset within the parliamentary party and the wider Greens membership, who have already expressed concern about entering government.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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