Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle, urging clampdown on data centres, slams Climate Action Plan for ‘lack of ambition’

Pringle, urging clampdown on data centres, slams Climate Action Plan for ‘lack of ambition’

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said the Government’s Climate Action Plan 2021 represents more of an unfair burden on ordinary people rather than a real and effective way “to tackle the defining issue of our time”.

Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday during statements on the climate action plan, Deputy Pringle said: “What strikes me most about the 2021 Climate Action Plan is not only its lack of ambition and its lack of bravery, but most importantly its complete lack of any sense of togetherness in the face of this massive global issue that we are facing together.

“It’s clear that the plan is not in line with climate justice, and the statement by Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan stating that the bulk of funding would come from business and from the pockets of individuals and households, just demonstrates how they plan for this to be yet another unfair burden on ordinary people, rather than a real and effective way to tackle the defining issue of our time,” he said.

The deputy criticised Government response for failing to address the huge investment needed for public transport, “including a well-functioning train service that actually extends to my constituency of Donegal, but to try to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 despite, again, the immense personal cost this will be for motorists,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “I won’t even begin on the issues that arise from relying on private-sector funding, but it is clear that none of the three party leaders have assisted constituents in applying for SEAI grants recently, or they would know of the huge backlog and years of waiting constituents are currently facing.”

Even if this backlog was addressed, SEAI grants do nothing to assist ordinary families, the deputy said.

He said: “These grants are simply aimed at those who already have the money to invest in retrofitting and electric vehicles. It is clear to me that this Climate Action Plan is restricted to the wealthy and that an investment into climate change is a luxury for the few.”

The deputy said: “The Climate Action Plan is disappointing at best in addressing the issue of an out-of-control data centre sector driving the entire country towards power cuts. I cannot stress enough the importance of urgently clamping down on data centre development.” Data centres are forecast to take up 23 per cent of the country’s electricity demand by 2030, he said.

Deputy Pringle welcomed the Government announcement that it will review its policies on data centre growth to keep it in line with emissions and renewable energy targets, saying, “I sincerely hope they are true to their word on this.”