Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Public ownership will create a fairer, more equal energy system

Pringle: Public ownership will create a fairer, more equal energy system

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said privatisation of the energy system has failed the people, as he supported a call for the renationalisation of the energy system.

Addressing the Dáil today, Deputy Pringle said: “We all have constituents who are struggling to make ends meet at the moment and hearing their stories is truly heartbreaking. There is no doubt that the privatisation and marketisation of the energy system has failed them, as they continue to watch their monthly bills rise each month with no end in sight.”

The deputy said: “There is no doubt that if there was ever a time to renationalise an industry, it is now, as a result of the energy crisis and the cost-of-living crisis we are currently facing.” The deputy said Ireland had the cheapest electricity in the EU under the semi-state company ESB but today is probably among the highest.

The deputy was speaking in support of the People Before Profit – Solidarity motion re Energy: Renationalisation of Electricity Supply.

Deputy Pringle said: “By taking energy back into public ownership, the profit motive will be gone and we will have the ability to create a fairer, more equal energy system. We need to re-integrate the ESB and restore the non-profit mandate.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s obsession with continuous privatisation has done nothing but destroy this country and its systems, such as our energy system,” he said.

The deputy said: “We cannot expect that private companies, who do not treat our citizens fairly today, will prioritise and invest in their futures,” adding: “We need publicly developed renewable energy that prioritises Irish targets, developed by the ESB in the public interest.

“Our energy future is far too important to be left in the hands of corporate greed, whose goal is to take at the expense of ordinary people.”

He also supported the motion’s call to ban construction of any additional data centres and ban the connection of any more data centres to gas networks or the national grid.

Deputy Pringle said: “Rural Ireland often gets the blame for climate change. However, data centres take up over 16% of the total electricity demand, which is more than all rural homes in the country. As well as that, rural Ireland has the highest percentage of forced car ownership, due to the fact that the transport system in this country is underdeveloped and unreliable.

“I am glad that this motion points out the fact that successive governments’ failure to invest in free, green, frequent and fast public transport has produced a near-universal car dependency. I recently brought forward a motion calling for free and accessible public transport to address this issue.

“It is clear that free public transport is a practical and effective way to reap climate, social, health and economic benefits. It’s a single solution that is solving multiple problems.

“While the government did not oppose my motion, which I believe was a sensible proposal that would address many of the issues that people across this country are faced with today, this means nothing when no action follows. And while they won’t oppose the motion I don’t think too much will be done to make it a reality, either,” he said.