Call to embrace environmental issue


ENVIRONMENT:INSTEAD OF being “an elite concern of the urban middle class”, the environment should become “a positive national obsession”, Fine Gael environment spokesman Phil Hogan told his party’s national conference.

He said 50,000 jobs could be created in Ireland over the next decade by “embracing positive environmental proposals and alternative technology”.

“Ireland should go from ‘worst to first’ in the environmental stakes, should never be anything but a by-word for environmental excellence and should never be subject to European fines over environmental breaches.

“A do-nothing strategy will be very expensive, with €75 million a year spent on buying carbon credits because of missed carbon emissions targets. By 2020, that figure will be €350 million, which should be spent instead on hospitals and schools.”

Outlining Fine Gael’s approach, he said: “Instead of the environment as an elite concern of the urban middle class, we will turn it into a national obsession.”

Commenting on the Green Party’s performance in Government he said: “The country flooded and John Gormley did nothing. He said loads. He just didn’t do anything. Any more than he did anything about E.coli in the water in Galway.”

Mr Hogan added: “The Greens are for medical card withdrawal. They support withholding vaccines from 12-year-olds that would save their lives. They go along with pulling teachers out of schools.”

Fine Gael spokesman on energy and natural resources, Simon Coveney offered proposals to end emissions from cars and significantly reduce emissions from the transport sector by 2030.

“The key to this idea is that it links energy generation in Ireland with the transport sector. By promoting a seismic shift in car ownership from petrol and diesel driven engines to electric vehicles, not only can we solve Ireland’s emissions problem but we can also provide . . . more sustainable ways of generating electricity,” he said.