The Green Party has set out 17 demands that must be met before it would be amendable to consider coalition talks involving Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
The demands include a commitment to very ambitious annual reductions of 7 per cent in carbon emissions; a fifth of all transport capital spending to be ringfenced for cycling and walking, as well as two-thirds of the overall transport budget to be targeted at public transport rather than private transport.
In its comprehensive response to the joint framework document agreed between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael last week, the Green Party also calls for the ending of direct provision, the exploration of a universal basic income for everybody in society, as well as the halting of controversial fossil fuel infrastructure, including the planned liquid natural gas (LNG) plant earmarked for the Shannon Estuary area.
The party has said that a ‘Green New Deal’ must be at the heart of any government that is formed in the 33rd Dáil.
Party leader Eamon Ryan has said the challenging target of a seven per cent reduction in greenhouse emissions would effectively comprise a red line for the party.
“If we were trying to go into government and we were not really ambitions in terms of climate change, I think it would be very hard for us to get it through our members, not alone that, but through our parliamentary party as well.”
Mr Ryan, party chairman Roderic O’Gorman and Carlow-Kilkenny TD Malcolm Noonan expanded on the details of the document to the media on Thursday.
Speaking outside Leinster House in Dublin, Mr Ryan emphasised it was not a government negotiation document but rather a clarification document specifically in response to the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael framework document.
“We’ve a bit of time to start really thinking about what the next government is going to do, which is going to be charged with this economic recovery. That’s the big task. We think it can be green. We think Europe is looking in that direction for a European Green Deal,” he said.
The document has stated a ‘Green New Deal’ recovery will provide just such a strategic approach.
“It would allow us to build a new circular economy which is more secure and sustainable than the existing system. At the same time, it would allow us to forge a new social contract and address inequality for all our people,” it states.
The party has posed its demands in the form of 17 questions to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, which cumulatively - if accepted - will result in very radical and dramatic change in the way Irish economy and society are ordered.
“Over the past 40 years the Green Party has campaigned to create a fairer society within a circular economy that protects the environment we all share. We believe that the next ten years are critical if we are to address the climate and biodiversity crisis which threatens our safety, security and of the next Government,” the document states.
The 17 demands are:
1. A seven per cent reduction in carbon emissions each year.
2. Massive development in renewable energy infrastructure including off-shore wind, solar power and an upgrade of national grid.
3. An end to exploration licences for offshore gas exploration.
4. Stopping the fossil fuel infrastructure, particularly the LNG import terminal currently being planned for the River Shannon.
5. Exclusive provision of public housing, social housing and cost rental housing on public lands.
6. Prioritise urban renewal in line with a ‘town centre first’ model.
7. A deep retrofit programme as part of a programme for
8. A new social contract.
9. Ending the direct provision system and replace it with accommodation provided by approved housing bodies.
10. Commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas development aid.
11. Development of a national land use plan.
12. At least 20 per cent of transport spending on cycling and walking, and two-thirds of remaining budget on public transport.
13. Trial universal basic income (UBI) within the lifetime of the government.
14. Revision of National Development Plan to meet new climate targets and social policy goals.
15.Review of the Government and Oireachtas response to the Covid-19 crisis.
16. A full financial analysis and costing of the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael joint framework document.
17. Commitment to a Green Procurement Policy.