Social Democrats outline plan to finance home retrofitting

Party says it would implement ‘pay as you go’ programme, and transform public transport

Joint leaders of the Social Democrats Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Social Democrats have proposed a front-loaded “pay as you go” national retrofitting programme and a levy on single-use plastics as part of their climate action policy.

The party has said it would plan and fund a nationwide public transport programme if elected to government and said it would ring-fence the income from carbon taxes to fund the retrofitting of homes.

Party co-leader Catherine Murphy said “if we don’t start from today doing really significant things, we are going to leave a terrible legacy into the future. We need to think differently.”

Ms Murphy said under the retrofitting programme, a home owner would pay back the cost of a retrofitting grant through utility bills.

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On transport, Ms Murphy said she believed most people would opt for public transport if it was provided for them.

“We hear today that people are spending longer in their cars, and that does not come as a surprise to us. People are looking for leadership from Government to make those choices.”

Dart Underground

She said the Dart Underground project must be prioritised.

“The public transport has to be designed as the community is designed to grow. If you look at where they have invested in other countries, in the Nordic countries they have relatively high levels of taxation but they have terrific public services. But they also have high levels of foreign direct investment as well, and the reason why is because they do things well in terms of linking them together.”

The party has said that it wants to reduce public transport fares and said rural public transport must be improved.

In relation to fossil fuels, the Social Democrats say they will introduce a nationwide ban on smoky coal and would also legislate for a new clean air and water act to increase monitoring and enforcement of pollution.

The party also says it would continue to phase out peat-burning power stations.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times