February 18th, 2016
With people taking to the polls in just over a week, we continue to highlight and examine the environmental objectives and goals of our nation’s parties. Today’s diary entry focuses on Sinn Fein, who have put an emphasis on flood defences in their manifesto alongside other policies pertaining to renewable energy and energy costs.
The 2015 floods affected thousands of homes nationwide, resulting in calls for the Irish government to come up with a stronger approach in dealing with future crisis. Sinn Fein were particularly vocal in this regard, with leader Gerry Adams criticisng the government’s response on a number of grounds. It appears the party have followed through with their concern, by devoting a section of their manifesto to flood defences.
The party has put forward a number of policies and plans for dealing with future flooding crisis, which include:
. Regulating planning defences for floods and ensuring government investment in flood defences
. Investing in water and sewerage, drainage or coastal infrastructure
. Addressing the failure of the insurance industry and government to provide affordable, capped insurance cover to domestic households and SME properties against high flood risk
. The establishment of a single river Shannon authority to ensure that there is proper coordination of and robust response from the various agencies responsible.
Sinn Fein make it explicitly clear that they are committed to reaching the state’s renewable energy targets for 2020. Alongside opposition to fracking and nuclear power, the party has a number of sustainable energy goals. These include:
. Introducing proper regulation of wind turbines – the party intends to bring the Sinn Fein Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014 to committee
. The introduction of staged tax measures on offshore oil and gas fields
. Party engagement with climate change experts, and the development of an interdepartmental strategy to meet specific environmental targets
Sinn Fein’s anti-privatisation stance extends to matters of energy, where they make clear their opposition to the privatisation of state energy assets. Sinn Fein’s other energy priorities include:
. The party plans to install a dedicated route to the national grid for community projects.
. They hope to ensure that all energy projects are subject to the strategic environment assessment.
. The party plans to invest in the retroffiting of housing as a means of carbon reduction and tackling fuel poverty. Examples include extending the warmer homes schemes to windows and doors.