Rural-Urban divisions detrimental to climate action

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Measures such as banning the sale of turf exacerbate divisions between rural and urban areas when it comes to tackling climate change, Galway TD Catherine Connolly has said.

Speaking in the Dáil this week during statements on a ‘just transition’ for Ireland, Deputy Connolly said that Ireland’s approach to the climate crisis has been one of “extreme tardiness” at its best.

“Let us look at what we are talking about here. Some rural Deputies feel that their areas are being left out.”

“I have the privilege of representing a city and a rural area and I know this division is absolutely detrimental to our solidarity and our approach to climate change.”

The recently announced ban on the commercial sale of turf from September doesn’t help, she added, “when 23% of the homes in County Galway use turf-fired central heating.”

“That type of idiocy, which leads to more and more division, is simply unacceptable,” Catherine Connolly said.

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan said in this debate that “the only just transition” will be one that is renewable and efficient.

“Relying on fossil fuels is at the expense of the people of our country and will lead to a hugely expensive, fraught and at-risk future.”

“The energy transition will be easier than other transitions because we have an alternative in our own natural resources.”

Minister Ryan said that the transition will have to be led by the state due to its massive scale and long timeframe of several decades.

He also highlighted the role of the national climate dialogue forum, which brings together “representatives of business, trade unions, NGOs, community organisations and the National Youth Council of Ireland” to share their voices.

This forum met for the first time two months, Minister Ryan said, and is expected to report back on its progress this summer.