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De Brún welcomes consultation on renewable energy

10 October, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the launch of a consultation process by Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Jeff Rooker on recommendations for a renewable energy policy and has urged the public to become fully involved in all aspects of the debate.

Ms de Brún said:

"At a recent meeting in the European Parliament, firms engaged in new processes in the field of renewable energy from all over Europe presented their technologies to a wide audience. This is clearly a growing business area that will be of considerable interest in Ireland, north and south, in the time ahead.

"This issue was a major topic of discussion at the recent Ploughing Championships in Co Cork, with several stands and exhibits on this issue.

"EU energy policy aims to see an increase in the share of renewable energy up to 12% by 2010, and the European Commission has recently launched a four-year strategy to raise awareness about renewable energy.

"I would urge the public to engage in the debate on the way ahead for renewable energy for several reasons. Firstly, in the context of climate change we need to seek new sources of renewable energy and alternative sources of energy in order to reduce the harmful effect of emissions from fossil fuels. In any case such fuels are becoming increasingly scarce and will not be available indefinitely. Secondly, we need to look at alternative land use in the context of CAP reform, of the crisis facing agriculture, and of new opportunities that are emerging. Thirdly, the public should be aware of these new developing technologies and have a realistic debate about their effectiveness and their impact on the environment. And finally, new industries and small companies are springing up to meet the demands for renewable energy and we in Ireland should not be left behind in this debate.

"The core message of the Sustainable Energy Europe campaign is that 'intelligent energy production and consumption will change the European energy landscape forever'.

"While the public will have concerns about aspects of some of these new technologies, it is important to have a full debate on the issues involved. I would urge those in rural areas in particular to make their voices heard." ENDS

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