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Failure to ban fracked-gas import terminals a missed opportunity - Senator Lynn Boylan and Darren O’Rourke TD

23 March, 2021 - by Darren O Rourke TD, Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin Climate Action Committee members have welcomed the publication of the Climate Bill and the opportunity to scrutinise it.

They noted as positive that Minister Ryan took on board many of the committee’s 78 recommendations, especially given that he initially wanted to fast-track his woefully inadequate first draft through the committee.

They added, however, that the failure to tackle fracked gas import terminals was a major disappointment. 

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Climate Justice Senator Lynn Boylan said:

“It is deeply regrettable that the bill contains no mention of the ban on import terminals for fracked gas. The science is clear - we cannot afford to build these import terminals. Minister Ryan has missed an opportunity to set that out in law.

“The activists warn us we are running out of time and Minister Ryan’s delay leaves the door open for developers. Last week, New Fortress Energy announced it is moving ahead with plans for a US fracked gas import terminal, and with the PCI list status intact. Why is Minister Ryan dithering?

“That said, we are glad to see many of our recommendations included. There is a definition of climate justice and the need for a just transition has been recognised. Its absence from the last bill was a worrying omission and gave a sense of Minister Ryan’s priorities.

“I also welcome the news that Patricia King of ICTU will be a member of the Climate Change Advisory Council - Sinn Féin had called for a member with experience in labour relations.

“As the bill progresses through the Oireachtas, Sinn Féin will be working to put principles of justice at the heart of climate action and not just paying lip service to it.”

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport Darren O'Rourke said:

“The last version of the bill was full of weasel words that the minister could hide behind if targets were missed. If climate legislation is going to work, those in power need to be held accountable.

“There have been welcome improvements in terms of closing loopholes and improving accountability.

“With climate legislation, the devil is in the detail. We will continue to pour over the changes made to the bill to see if they are up to the challenge of tackling climate change.

“It is essential to get this legislation right. We hope we’ll be given adequate time to scrutinise the bill.

“We look forward to working constructively with colleagues on a cross party basis to make sure the bill is ambitious enough.”

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