The Green Party hailed today as a historic day for environmentalism in Ireland, after a majority of Dáil Éireann backed plans to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration in Irish waters.
The Climate Emergency Measures Bill 2018, introduced by Bríd Smith TD, was debated in the Dáil yesterday, with the Green Party, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour, and Independents4Change all speaking in favour. The bill follows the Green Party's own 'Keep It In The Ground' bill, published last November, and a similar amendment from Senator Grace O'Sullivan in the Seanad, both of which sought a similar end to fossil fuel extraction and exploration
The Bill secured the support of 78 TDs, while 48 voted against it, and will now proceed to Committee Stage in the Oireachtas, despite the Government’s opposition.
Speaking following the vote, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said: “This truly is a historic day for environmentalism in Ireland. The tide has turned on fossil fuels, and there is widespread political support now for a just transition to renewable power. If we are to keep global temperature rises below 1.5-2 degrees, avoiding climate chaos, then 80% of known fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground. By signing the Paris Agreement, Ireland committed to such a plan.”
Green Party Deputy Leader Catherine Martin TD said: “We’re delighted that the Dáil will take this important step, and commit to ending fossil fuel exploration in Irish waters. For once, Ireland is living up to our Green image.”
Senator Grace O’Sullivan said: “Day-by-day, we are learning more of the damage that offshore oil and gas exploration is doing to our marine environment - disrupting and destroying vital and delicate habitats and threatening areas crucial to our fisheries, tourism and leisure sectors. We need to protect our oceans and keep these polluting fossil fuels in the ground. Not only will this Bill focus Ireland on promoting renewables, it will also protect our coastal fishing communities, marine resources and tourism industries and marine ecosystems. It is a hugely important step in the right direction.”