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Ireland setting poor example on climate change and Kyoto targets - Mary Lou McDonald

30 October, 2006

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP has today raised her concerns that Ireland is not on course to reach its Kyoto Protocol targets by 2010.

Ms McDonald made her comments after it was revealed that Ireland will be approximately 16% off its carbon emission reduction targets in the next three years.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"It will come as no surprise that Ireland is way off on its Kyoto commitments. It has looked increasingly likely over the past months and years that we would be near the bottom of the league.

"The irony is that the Kyoto Protocol is only a first step in a longer and more challenging process in combating climate change. It certainly looks as if Ireland will fall at the first hurdle and not even be able to meet these un-ambitious yet important targets.

"Ireland now stands to be on the receiving end of astronomical fines - potentially in the region of 100 - 180 million euros. Just as importantly, Ireland is setting a terrible example in its perceived commitment to global climate change.

"This government must be challenged and asked why we are lagging so far behind in our commitments and why we are amongst the worst offenders in the EU. Climate change remains one of the most fundamental challenges facing the world in the time ahead. Indeed, the European Environment Agency indicated that Europe is warming faster than the rest of the globe. It has been estimated that 7 billion tonnes of carbon is released into the atmosphere every year. Ireland needs to be part of the solution, not continually part of the problem.

"One small step in this fight would be the creation of an all Ireland Environmental Protection Agency with strong enforcement powers and a strong commitment to ensuring that the polluter is held responsible for their actions and meets treatment costs." ENDS

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