Just two Cabinet Ministers using environmentally-friendly vehicles
FF TD John Lahart says Government wants people to change ‘yet their own house is not remotely in order’
The Hyundai Ioniq electric car is the mode of transport for the Minister for Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton
Just two of the 15 senior Ministers in Cabinet drive or are driven in environmentally-friendly vehicles.
Only Minister for Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, who introduced the Government’s Climate Action Plan, and Minister for Transport Shane Ross have confirmed they are driving environmentally-friendly cars.
Mr Bruton’s department said “his own mode of transport is a Hyundai Ioniq, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle . Used for his work as a Minister, is it nonetheless his own private vehicle.”
Mr Ross, who owns a Jaguar, said “I am currently using a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle 40 in the performance of my official duties. In recent weeks I have been trialling a number of different alternatively-fuelled vehicles.”
However, he and his senior officials have expressed concern about the national climate plan target for one million electric vehicles by 2030. It has been reported that Mr Ross believed a 500,000 target might be more achievable.
Since 2011 only the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Justice have a State-supplied car and full-time Garda driver. All other Ministers have to use their own cars but their drivers are paid for by the exchequer.
The President, Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecutions are also supplied with a State car and Garda driver.
All vehicles in the ministerial fleet are diesel-powered. The Taoiseach’s main car and second car, both BMW 740s, are diesel. The Tánaiste’s main car and second vehicle, both Audis A6Q, are diesel. The Minister for Justice’s car, a BMW 530, is diesel.
The President’s main car, a BMW 740, is diesel-powered. His second car, a Mercedes S350, is also run on diesel. The Chief Justice’s car and that of the Director of Public Prosecutions have diesel engines.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, who has responsibility for the State ministerial fleet, said two electric cars were purchased last year “ in order to evaluate the potential for their use in Garda operational environments”.
The responses follow a series of parliamentary questions from Fianna Fáil Dublin South West TD John Lahart, who said the Government wanted people to change and yet “their own house isn’t even remotely in order”.
He noted that a lot of Ministers use their own private cars which were in the main “quite modest”, but he said the fleet supplied by the State was diesel operated and and they should move to electric cars when the fleet was being changed.
“Politicians are supposed to set an example and they need to experience the risks that are involved and the issues” such as the range of an electric car and the numbers of electric power points. “After all, they want one million of us to be driving electric cars by 2030.”
Mr Lahart acknowledged that he drives a 13-year-old diesel car. He was trialling an electric Golf for a week, but “there would need to be a scrappage scheme to afford the more than €30,000 price tag”.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe’s official car is a Skoda Superb diesel, as is Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s, while Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy uses a Skoda Octavia diesel.
Minister for Health Simon Harris uses an Audi A6 diesel. Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty uses a 2008 diesel Peugeot car.
Minister for Children Katherine Zappone uses a diesel-run Hyundai Tucson, while Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan uses a 2010 Lexus.
Minister for Business Heather Humphreys merely said she used “my own private car”, as did Minister for Rural and Community Affairs Michael Ring.
A spokesman for Minister for Education Joe McHugh said he drives a Hyundai i40 2013 diesel, and the vehicle was bought long before the Minister was in a Cabinet position in education.