Capital spending cuts a missed opportunity to develop green economy – Stanley
Sinn Féin's environment spokesperson Brian Stanley TD has described the Infrastructure & Capital Investment cuts as a wasted opportunity to invest in the green economy, jobs and sustainability.
Deputy Stanley said:
“The slash and burn politics of this government is highlighted in their massive cut to environmental infrastructure.
“This is a time when the government should be investing in our green industry to boost the economy and provide jobs. The capital budget to the Department of Environment has been cut by €287m. This includes cuts to investment in water services by €65m and to the rural water programme by €10m.
“There is no commitment to investing in water harvesting which aims to reuse rain water. This investment would not only create jobs but would also reduce our water consumption by a third. There is however a commitment to water rates. Today’s plan commits the government to ‘deliver high quality competitively priced water services to customers.’
“One of the biggest omissions in this programme for cuts is the lack of commitment to alternative energy. Ireland has one the highest rates of oil consumption in the world. Investment in wave and wind power and other alternative sources of energy must be a priority. The planned removal of the energy efficiency grants is lazy and badly thought out. At a time when 1.4 million homes are in need of retrofitting the government should be redoubling their efforts to encourage insulation and upgrading.
“SEAI reported that ‘every euro spent on Better Energy Homes delivers a net benefit of €5 to society through energy, CO2 and other pollutant savings. The analysis shows that investments in home energy upgrades will be fully repaid through energy savings within eight years.’ Despite this our government is committed to phasing the grant scheme.
“Clearly this programme was written by those who have no interest in growth, sustainability or developing a green economy.”