FF and FG give Greens a written commitment on 7% cut in emissions
Eamon Ryan hopes to conclude talks by end of May before putting deal to party postal ballot
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan speaks to media at Leinster House following his meeting with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaders on Tuesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have given the Green Party a written commitment that they will introduce measures to bring about a 7 per cent annual reduction in emissions for the next decade.
The leaders of the three parties met on Tuesday to discuss the format and timetable of formal government formation talks which will now begin on Thursday.
Speaking after the meeting, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said it was his hope to conclude talks at the end of month before putting the proposed deal to his party through a postal ballot.
He confirmed that party members in Northern Ireland of which there are about 600, will also be eligible to vote on any such proposal.
The Green Party also published a clarification received from party leaders Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin over the weekend where both committed to the 7 per cent reductions in emissions target.
In the clarification Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil wrote that they are “happy to confirm that a new government comprising our three parties will commit to developing measures to achieve an average 7 per cent per annum reduction in annual emissions for the next decade”.
The two parties also said they “want to discuss with you through talks on a programme for Government, the measures that will be required to achieve such a target and to put these policies in place. It is important that there is clarity about how our targets will be met”.
“A just transition is central to our approach to ensure that all regions and sectors can engage with innovative, progressive practices to encourage compliance as we work towards a net zero carbon target by 2050 as outlined in the European Green Deal.
“It is important to both of our parties that in taking climate action we work with our agricultural sector, rural Ireland in general, business and industry.”
Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil also said they would also seek to improve farmer incomes and “protect the family farm model as part of a European Green Deal and a revised common agriculture policy”.
The two parties “fully accepted” that reducing emissions would provide “better air quality, a better future for all our people and improvements to our quality of life right across the country”.
“It will create jobs and allow for economic opportunities to develop across Ireland as a result of deep retrofitting, renewable energy, peatlands management and green technology.”
Mr Ryan said that in order to achieve the 7 per cent reductions, any agreed deal would have to involve a land use plan and there must also be a social focus.
“That involves re-wetting our bogs, new types of forestry, new types of farming, getting farmers paid properly so young people can go into farming,” he said.
He added that the second element will be around energy and he indicated he believes there is capacity for new offshore wind energy projects. Mr Ryan said there should also be a focus on the retrofitting of buildings.
The Green Party leader said that the negotiations will also look at public housing, universal healthcare and issues around the quality of life. He said talks “won’t be easy and nothing is certain but our party is ready to play our part and hopefully we will see a successful outcome”.
“My preference would be that we should try get this done by the end of the month. We will probably have to do a postal ballot like other parties and that will take a period of time. The Irish public would expect this to be done in a matter of weeks rather than longer and I would agree with that,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Fine Gael parliamentary party met virtually on Tuesday evening to discuss government formation efforts. Sources say that some concerns were expressed about the move to enter official talks.
Wexford Senator Michael D’Arcy is among those who expressed reservations about the move. He is understood to have told colleagues that the party needed to be careful about entering government after it lost the election and said it must be mindful of where such a move will leave it when an election comes around.