Dáil debates

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

8:00 pm

Photo of Ciarán CuffeCiarán Cuffe (Minister of State , Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; Minister of State , Department of Transport; Minister of State , Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Dún Laoghaire, Green Party)

It is not going to happen when the Fine Gael Party argues for yet more motorway investment. If we are to make public transport work, we must make the capital investment. There have been reductions in expenditure on roads and in general expenditure, but if the two Opposition parties believe that when the money comes back, we should invest it all in roads, then we will not address the energy security issues, the peak oil issues and the climate change issues. Let us not run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

While I accept that Deputy Coveney's concerns are genuine, we must look at how we are to reduce energy use. I commend him on his work in researching the move towards electricity in transportation, but this should not be about electric Range Rovers. It should be about smaller cars that use less energy and about how we can travel less and produce more with less energy. The post-peak oil, energy secure, climate change agenda must be about using resources wisely. I do not see enough of that in this motion.

I accept the Deputy wants to focus his attention exclusively on the energy security issue and I commend him on that. However, I have a little difficulty with the lack of a great attempt to address the energy conservation issue in the thrust of his motion. It would be remiss of me to make the polemical point that we need to address energy security without ensuring that we put significant resources into energy conservation. That may be in the Houses of the Oireachtas where we are moving over to using wood-pellet boilers and greater energy management, or the kind of measures my colleagues in Cabinet are taking to encourage householders to save money and have better heated homes, or in many other initiatives the Government is producing.

I welcome the Fine Gael motion, although I feel the Government amendment encapsulates the issues to a greater extent. I thank Deputy Coveney and others for their interest in this issue this evening.

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