Sinn Féin would not follow through on ‘insane’ plan to abolish carbon tax, says Eamon Ryan

Minister says the party needs to up their game on environment issues

Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment: 'Sinn Féin will not get rid of the carbon tax... that’s absolutely clear.' Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said he does not believe Sinn Féin would abolish the carbon tax if in government as it would be “insane” for any political party to do so.

In its alternative Budget 2024, Sinn Féin said it would not proceed with a planned increase in the carbon tax, which went ahead in October and saw the rate per tonne of CO2 emitted from petrol and diesel rising from €48.50 to €56.

The Government has committed to increasing carbon tax to €100-per-tonne by 2030, with increases of €7.50 planed each year up to 2029 and €6.50 in 2030. The yield from carbon tax is expected to rise to an average of €950 million a year by 2030.

Additional revenue raised from increases in the carbon tax have, since 2020, been put aside for spending on measures including targeted social welfare interventions and community energy efficiency investments.


Asked about Sinn Féin’s stance on the tax, Mr Ryan said: “Sinn Féin will not get rid of the carbon tax. Like that’s absolutely clear. Sinn Féin [in] every budget say ‘oh we are opposed to an increase in carbon tax. We will pocket all the money and all the gains again from last year’. Because Sinn Féin knows that it is really working. And it works for the poor people in this country.”

Regarding the tax, he said some “30 per cent goes towards social protection, increasing social welfare [and] 55 per cent goes to retrofitting”. This, he said, is “one reason why we’re such a success” in Ireland.

“Because everyone knows it’s going to come in every year, it’s not budget dependent. So the industry can scale up and hire someone knowing it’s going be there again next year. It’s going to be bigger,” he said.

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Mr Ryan, the Minister for the Environment, said he did not envisage any party getting rid of the carbon tax “because that would be insane” and it would have to be replaced by something else.

He said he believed Sinn Féin “need to up the game dramatically on the environment” and “I don’t think they take it seriously enough”.

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In its alternative budget proposals, Sinn Féin said it would not proceed with a planned increase in the carbon tax because “it would further hike already increasing” petrol and diesel prices.

“This hike must not proceed,” the party said at the time.

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Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times