Ryan criticises Government for issuing two new fossil fuel exploration licences

Stance ‘a serious a failure of judgment and abdication of responsibility’ – Green leader

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan: ‘The Government is publicly saying to the people of Ireland that it recognises the seriousness of the environmental crisis, supports the Dáil’s declaration of a climate emergency and is promising action while, behind closed doors, it is business as usual.’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan: ‘The Government is publicly saying to the people of Ireland that it recognises the seriousness of the environmental crisis, supports the Dáil’s declaration of a climate emergency and is promising action while, behind closed doors, it is business as usual.’ Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

 

The Government has been accused of being insincere on its climate crisis commitments in the wake of recent elections, as it continues to issue exploration licences for fossil fuels.

The matter is set to come to a head next month when the Climate Emergency Bill comes back before an Oireachtas select committee for consideration.

The Dáil voted on Tuesday to allow the Bill limiting future oil and gas exploration in Irish waters to move forward in the legislative process. Proposed by People Before Profit, it proposes a ban on future oil and gas extraction.

Reacting to confirmation two new licences were being issued, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: “It beggars belief that in the days after the electorate has unequivocally expressed a desire to see genuine action on climate, which the Taoiseach has personally acknowledged, his Government would turn round and issue licences for drilling in Irish waters.”

“The Government is publicly saying to the people of Ireland that it recognises the seriousness of the environmental crisis, supports the Dáil’s declaration of a climate emergency and is promising action while, behind closed doors, it is business as usual,” he added.

The stance was “a serious a failure of judgment and abdication of responsibility”, Mr Ryan said.

Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton has defended the issuing of new licences based on the need to maintain “energy security” in Ireland. Use of fossil fuels, notably gas, would be necessary as the economy is decarbonised, he insisted. More than 40 licences currently exist for a range of fossil fuels, with some having contracts up to the late 2020s.