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Government must publish alternative energy strategy without further delay - Morgan

14 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has warned that, “Our dependency on non renewable sources of energy has serious potentially damaging implications for the economy in the years ahead.” Speaking in the Dáil this evening, during a debate on the Building Control Bill 2005, Deputy Morgan called on the Government to “publish a comprehensive alternative energy strategy without further delay.”                       

He said, “I welcome this legislation but it does not suffice.  Far more needs to be done to promote the construction of eco buildings.  We need to go beyond directives from the EU.  We need to be grasping every opportunity to reduce our dependency on energy from fossil fuels, the vast majority of which is imported.  The construction of eco buildings needs greater incentivisation.  This state is amongst the most oil dependent in the world.  Oil accounts for nearly 64 per cent of our overall energy consumption, more than 20 points higher than the EU average.  Our dependency on non-renewable sources of energy has serious potentially damaging implications for the economy in the years ahead.  The Government must publish a comprehensive alternative energy strategy without further delay.  To date the Government record with regard to the implementation of policies to tackle climate change has been atrocious.  It has pursued polices that promote the use of private transport, it dumped proposals to introduce carbon taxes and it is relying almost exclusively in emissions trading to meet obligations under the Kyoto protocol.  There is no genuine commitment to tackling climate change.  

“If this legislation is to be effective it will need to be enforced.  There is much within this legislation regarding the BER certificate which will need to be clarified  - hopefully they can be teased out at committee stage.  We have yet to see what the prescribed qualifications and training for those issuing BER certificates will be.  We need ensure that there are mechanisms to monitor and inspect the accuracy of such certificates.  As with other legislation the key issue which will determine the usefulness of this legislation is how well it is enforced. Unless the resources necessary to enforce its provisions are made available it will be of little use.     

“There are very real concern that the under funding of local authorities is impeding the ability of local building control authorities to carry out their existing duties.  Increased responsibilities must be matched with increased resources.” ENDS

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