Dáil votes to divest from fossil fuels – in move that could see Ireland become world leader in divestment

January 27th 2017

In a move being hailed as ‘historic’ and a ‘significant win’ Ireland may soon become the world’s first country to fully divest from all fossil fuels.

Yesterday the Government was defeated as the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill passed the second stage 90 votes to 53.

Friends of the Earth described as “historic” the vote to progress a Bill to pull taxpayer’s money out of fossil fuel companies.foe_eng_logo_col_port

Fine Gael and the independents who support the minority government were the only TDs to vote against the Bill, which will now passes to a Dáil Committee. It was the seventh Dáil defeat for the government since it was formed last year.

Commenting on the landmark vote, Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth said:

“This is first real sign of leadership from Ireland on climate action.

“Over the last 20 years our Governments have more often been laggards than leaders. Playing catch up at best, more often being delinquent.

“Today our parliament stepped up and overruled the ministers and civil servants whose first instinct is to do as little as possible, and nothing at all until they are forced to act.”

“Enda Kenny put Fine Gael on the wrong side of history today. You have to ask what fossil fuels does the Taoiseach want to invest it?

“In the absence of political leadership citizens and communities are doing it for themselves. Getting together to make their communities more energy efficient, to keep them fracking-free and now to make sure the Government stops investing our taxes in fossil fuel companies.”

The campaign to divest the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund from fossil fuels has been led by Trócaire, with the support of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition. It is one of the top line policy demands of Stop Climate Chaos.

Another Private Members Bill, to ban fracking, has already passed second stage over Government objections and is now the subject of a public consultation by the Oireachtas Committee Climate Action and Environment.

The Green Party welcomed the passage of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill 2016 to Committee Stage in the Dáil, describing the bill as a significant win for the environmental movement in Ireland.

Speaking following the vote Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said:

“Today is a fantastic day for the environmental movement in Ireland. Today, we started the process of divesting tens of millions from fossil fuel companies. The maths is beyond doubt. It is based on simple and clear physics. We have to leave four fifths of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. That is what we are acknowledging and legislating for here today.

“We are glad the bill has progressed to Committee Stage, but there is a long way to go before it becomes law. We look forward to being part of that process as it passes through the Oireachtas. There is a huge opportunity as a result of this bill to switch the money invested by the ISIF away from polluting fossil fuel industries, and into clean energy investments. The Government needs to recognise the economic opportunities of going Green, and massively ramp up their ambition.”

About the Author

Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.

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