Thomas Pringle TD

Thomas Pringle TD – Government’s wasteful political policies cost Ireland millions of euros.

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said the Government’s wasteful political policies cost the country tens of millions of euros.

Addressing the Dáil today (Wednesday), Deputy Pringle said: “Nearly a month ago, it was reported that we were to pay €12.5m to Denmark and €37.5m to Estonia for the statistical transfer of renewable energy sources. This €50m is for 3,500 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity because we are missing our agreed target by between three and four per cent.

“Our overall target was 16 per cent and because of our inability to reach our targets we are ‘buying’ gigawatt hours ‘on paper’.  Our target was previously 20 per cent, but had to be lowered because we were already significantly behind with renewable energy infrastructure.

“For me, Minister, this is a good example of our wasteful political policies. We are always reactive rather than being proactive. The EU member states like Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania and others are making millions from the countries that are missing their targets.”

Deputy Pringle was addressing a motion on the terms of the agreement on the establishment of a framework for the statistical transfer of energy from renewable sources between Ireland and the Danish State, and Ireland and Estonia.

He quoted from an Irish Independent article of October 26th last, where Minister Eamon Ryan was reported to have said: “It’s with real regret that we are not spending €50m to meet the target. Instead we are going to have to purchase those credits for not meeting it.”

Deputy Pringle said: “These targets were set 10 years ago, Minister. It’s not like we haven’t had time to put the renewable energy infrastructure in place. If only we were proactive and prioritised our capital spending. Minister Ryan went on to say, ‘It shows that these European directives, both on renewables and climate emissions, have real teeth. They do require us to act.’

“Is it really surprising that we are being held accountable for meeting the climate action targets we agreed? I suppose it is not unusual that Minister Ryan might be stumped by this, considering the Government has form in signing up to UN conventions, and not bothering to adhere to all of the commitments.”

Deputy Pringle said last year’s school strikes put climate change firmly on the political agenda, but what is less known is how financially costly Government inaction is for the Exchequer.

He concluded: “Interestingly, an article dated January 27th 2020, by stated: ‘Lack of climate action will cost the state over €7 billion by the end of this year, the Green Party has said in the lead up to the general election.’

“But what the Green Party says in the lead up to a general election and what the Green Party does in Government seem to be completely different,” Deputy Pringle said.