Dáil debates

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

5:35 pm

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The main issue during the run-in to the election was about housing, planning and local government. The priorities were housing and homelessness. It was therefore practical to transform the previous Department into the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Out of that former Department came the question of the environment, central to which is climate change, an area that has now been moved to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. If people want to add the word "environment" to the title, that is fine by me. Deputy Burton is well aware that action is much more important than names or words.

I have listened to this business of the arts being downgraded for the last three weeks now. The arts are not being downgraded. In fact, more money was put into that sector and that Department over the last 18 months than for very many years. We want to maintain the importance of the sector. Titles are one thing but action and effectiveness are something else. Regardless of whether we restore a name or continue with the word "Environment" in the name of a Department, the central feature is climate change, which is much more important in the context of what we are trying to do in Europe and at home, with all the consequences that follow.

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