Greens are gone when needed most

AS we watch the new Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, starting to systematically dismantle many of the environmental measures brought in by the Greens, the idea that other parties have stolen our clothes is ringing very hollow already.

The thin veneer of green adopted by the other parties for election purposes is already starting to peel off.

While in government we were blamed for the bailing out of the banks, yet we see the new government doing exactly the same thing. We were blamed for going into government with Fianna Fáil as we had been amongst their greatest critics.

Unfortunately the consequence of this is that the voice for the environment and sustainability that the Greens have provided in the Oireachtas since the late 1980s is all but gone at a time when Ireland may need it the most.

Energy underpins every aspect of our daily lives and 96% of our energy comes from fossil fuels. The issue of energy security has reached crisis proportions and yet nobody is really talking about it with the seriousness it deserves. Indeed if not handled properly, our energy crisis could have a much greater impact than our financial crisis.

The nuclear disaster in Japan and events in Libya have shown us how precarious our position actually is. Oil prices are continuing to rise regardless of the unpopular carbon tax which is used to pay for the insulation of people’s homes.

It is clear to me that renewable energy, insulation and innovation are the way forward. In fact, the green economy underpins the entire jobs strategy of the new government.

The new government has an outline plan for dealing with energy security called New ERA but it is far from adequate. Without any Greens in the Dáil it is unclear as to who will hold them to account.

Perhaps my colleague Dan Boyle on the Industrial and Commercial panel or myself on the NUI panel can retain our Seanad seats or are we to witness the extinction of the species ‘Greenus Oireachtas’? I certainly hope not.

Senator Niall O Brolchain

Salthill

Galway

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