Cork has potential to be renewables hub of Ireland, Greens

Published by Shamim Malekmian on

February 3rd, 2020

Dáil Eireann needs Cork TDs as the rebel county has the potential to become Ireland’s “centre for a renewable revolution”, the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said today.

Speaking at a press conference in Cork city with party candidates today, Mr Ryan said that “Cork will rise as it’s going green” as the party experts to win up to 15 seats around the country.

“We should be looking for at least four of these seats to come from Munster,” Mr Ryan said. “And it’s going to be good for Cork. It’s going to be good for Cork city, as we start putting decent public transport and bringing housing back toward the centre.”

Stating that the Greens have a clear vision for a clean Ireland, Mr Ryan criticised parties that have espoused green promises in their manifestos, yet have failed to provide a tangible roadmap for fulfilling those vows.

“Fianna Fail and Sinn Féin have lip service in their manifestos. Ah, we’re all interested in [the climate] subject, but provided nothing to make the scale of the leap we need to make,” he said.

Eamon Ryan at Greens Press Conference Photo: Shamim Malekmian
Eamon Ryan at Greens Press Conference Photo: Shamim Malekmian

Mr Ryan continued that under Fine Gael and Fianna Fail leadership, the country’s reputation has greatly suffered as we face hefty fines for failing to meet the EU’s climate targets.

“Let’s be honest here, if we’re agreeing that an at least seven per cent reduction is needed, then we’re going to have to sit down and figure out how we do that,” Mr Ryan said.

“Because if we don’t do that, we’re facing, possibly, €7 billion fines by the end of this decade and all the other financial projections will be thrown out the window.”

Responding to The Green News‘s question on the party’s plans for facilitating a Just Transition for workers, Mr Ryan said that he is fully aware that polluting industries have the advantage of offering well-protected and unionised jobs.

“We need to start talking directly to local communities as well as workers, I think [unionisation] can be implemented if we can have an influence on the Government,” he said. “It’s one of the first things that we would do. Let’s make some piece of legislation, and its part of a process of bringing people together.”

“I’m spending my time around the country, because this has to be a national campaign, this has to belong to everyone,” Mr Ryan added.

Speaking to The Green News, candidate for Cork City South East, Lorna Bogue, said that there would be no just transition without unionisation and workers’ right. “We need to review the labour legislation that we have because it’s quite simply not fit for purpose,” she said.

Bernadette Connelly the party’s candidate for Cork South West added that she hopes to “debunk the myth” that the Greens are an “urban party” dedicated to serving higher-income enclaves in the capital.

Ms Connolly, who has been the coordinator of Cork Environmental Forum for many years, said the Greens are dedicated to bringing climate and social justice to lower-income and rural communities.

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Shamim Malekmian

Shamim is a Senior Reporter at The Green News and a contributing writer to the Irish Examiner, Cork Evening Echo and the Dublin Inquirer.