Rowdy Dáil debate on climate bill hears of 'propaganda' and 'cuckoo stuff' 

Rowdy Dáil debate on climate bill hears of 'propaganda' and 'cuckoo stuff' 

Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice said he had watched 'propaganda' on RTÉ on alternative energy sources and noted their operation was much further off in the future.

An Independent TD has claimed Ireland will run out of power by 2026.

Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice was speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday night in a debate on the Government's Climate Action Bill.

Mr Fitzmaurice said he had watched "propaganda" on RTÉ on alternative energy sources and noted their operation was much further off in the future.

"By 2026, we're going to run out of power," he told the Dáil. "Wind out in the sea, they'll tell you it's a 10- to 14-year system but we're stopping the clock on things like Shannon Bridge and we're basically leaving people without jobs, it's all cuckoo stuff we're talking about.

"We should make sure we have balanced regional development.

"A department in chaos and a minister who won't take it by the scruff of its neck and an industry under ferocious pressure at the moment."

A row then erupted when Fine Gael's Richard Bruton accused rural TDs including Michael Healy Rae and Mattie McGrath of not participating in the committee stage of the bill.

Mr McGrath told Mr Bruton: "You better wake up and smell the grass growing, you've been representing rich farmers all your life."

The rural group noted they put in 90 amendments and rejected the notion they did not participate in the committee stage.

Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe struggled to have the Dáil return to order for a number of minutes.

"This isn't a cattle mart to get up and shout," said Mr Crowe.

Other Opposition politicians have baulked at the Government's Climate Action Bill, claiming it does not ensure a just transition.

A 'just transition' is part of the Paris Climate Agreement, and calls on governments to assess the effect of the transition to a low-carbon economy on particular communities; in Ireland, those most likely to be affected are rural farming families and those who work in the fuel industry such as Bord Na Mona.

There is just one reference to a just transition in the Government's bill and no definition of what it means.

Sinn Féin's Ruairí Ó Murchú said there was an "absolute necessity to ensure that we have sustainable family farms".

"Many farmers are incredibly apprehensive in relation to this and there is a need to deal with those stakeholders in relation to this. There is an absolute missing link," he said.

"It will make Government action on climate change easier to deliver.

"We need to ensure that we bring as many people along the road as possible."

Labour's Sean Sherlock recalled that Minister Eamon Ryan had been strongly in favour of just transition before he went into Government.

"It's hard to understand why there is no definition of the just transition, that's the logic of the amendments, that's where we're coming from," he said.

"It's something the Greens put forward in their own bill when they were in opposition and now they're demurring from it."

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