I read with interest today that in it’s most recent report that the Environmental Protection Agency says that the fossil fuels age is over and that statement has been particularly welcomed by Minister Dennis Naughten in a statement. However I am not so sure that the aspirations of the EPA and Minister Naughten are realistic. We still have thousands of people who depend on turf to heat their homes every year. Our haulage industry is almost totally dependent on diesel to operate and hundreds of thousands of people particularly in rural areas depend on oil to heat their homes, and petrol and diesel to get to work every day. This is the reality of daily life for the majority of our people and penalising them with higher carbon taxes for trying to get on with their daily lives is short sighted and unfair.
I warmly welcome the huge increase in the amount of waste being recycled in this country as indicated in the report and hopefully that will continue and increase and there are many other initiatives that I will support to reduce the amount of waste that we are producing in terms of packaging etc. But fossil fuels still have a huge role to play in the daily lives of many of our people and to suggest otherwise is ignoring reality.
I also read this week that Professor John Fitzgerald has proposed that people who use cars and fossil fuels should have to pay higher taxes. That’s fine for Professor Fitzgerald and all the people who live in suburban Dublin and other major cities and who have gas pipelines running down the street and public transport passing the door. The reality for the majority of people in rural Ireland is that they need their cars to go to work and oil and turf to heat their homes and there is no realistic alternative available. Do these people want us to have a pristine country with the majority of our people walking around with no work and living in tents? It’s time we got real on this issue.