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Sinn Féin MEP welcomes Hain announcement on renewable energy

31 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today welcomed today‚s announcement on renewable energy as a "small but important step towards the promotion of alternative sources of energy". She has also said that she hopes to see real progress in moving from fossil fuels to alternative fuels and aid for farmers in looking at alternative land use and the contribution this can make. She has also called for gaps in the present plan to be filled in the time ahead.

Ms de Brún made her comments after Peter Hain announced a £59 million renewable energy plan for the six counties today.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"I want to welcome today's announcement for a renewable energy plan for the Six Counties as a small but important step. Sinn Féin has long called for such a plan and we need to look no further than other European countries who have successfully initiated renewable energy plans in recent years.

"A recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned that Europe is warming more quickly than the rest of the world with wide-ranging consequences, including more frequent heat waves, flooding, rising sea levels and melting glaciers. We need to alter our means of production and output.

"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. Bio-fuels, solar, wind and wave power are among a range of quality alternatives to fossil fuels and it is important that we are not left behind in their develoment and use. Alternative fuel production could bring considerable economic benefits in the time ahead. Some 6000 jobs in rural France are derived from bio fuels production and in a similar way Ireland can provide a high numbers of jobs.

"Whilst welcoming Mr Hain‚s announcement, it is ironic that it comes amidst speculation that the British Government will give the go-ahead for the construction of a new wave of nuclear power plants. The British Government is sending out mixed messages regarding the environment. On the one hand it is advocating a clean green energy plan, yet on the other promoting nuclear energy which can have catastrophic consequences for the environment and the wider population.

" If the British government has finally got the message about alternative fuels it must move from lip service to concrete action. Today's announcement is a small but important step on that path. However, much of the detail still ignores calls made by those developing alternative fuels in recent times and this needs to be rectified." ENDS

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