Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Financial Resolutions - Budget Statement 2020

 

1:15 pm

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)

-----deliver new environmental schemes in Irish food and agriculture; and invest in our low-carbon future.

Investing in our low carbon future

We know that climate disruption is already impacting our country. In the midlands in particular, job losses are already being experienced. Midlands communities understandably feel very threatened by the potential closure of Bord Na Móna and ESB power stations in their region. These companies have sustained families and communities for many decades. While it is accepted that there is a need to change, it is the Government’s duty to ensure that no one group of citizens, workers, communities or enterprises is left behind by this disruption and our midlands will be the first region facing this change.

This is why I am using a portion of the carbon tax revenues next year to fund a package targeted at the midlands. The Government will work with local communities on the best use of this funding. A sum of €20 million will be dedicated to the creation of a new energy efficiency scheme targeted initially at the social housing stock in the region. This aims to create new, sustainable employment in the region. I am providing a further €5 million for peatlands rehabilitation. This is a 250% increase in the budget allocated for rehabilitation to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance biodiversity. In addition, a dedicated new just transition fund is being created. This fund will be devoted to those priorities identified by the communities. A sum of €6 million will be available for this fund in 2020. To help communities determine the most pressing priorities, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Bruton, will shortly appoint a just transition commissioner. The commissioner will engage with all relevant stakeholders in the midlands-----

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