Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Mary Coughlan): Various measures have been taken by my Department to reduce its carbon footprint. One of the most significant initiatives was the installation in 2007 of a new wood-fired heating system in my Department’s offices at Johnstown Castle, Wexford, as an alternative to fossil fuel. This system provides all office and water heating. Following a survey carried out by the Office of Public Works it has been decided to install biofuel heating systems in the following offices of my Department; Ballina AES Office, Cavan Regional Office, Castlebar Office, Ennis Local Office, Enniscorthy Local office, Longford Local office, Mullingar Local Office and Nenagh Local Office. It is envisaged that the Office of Public Works will have these systems installed later this year. Also, in recent months the electricity supply to the following Regional Offices has been switched to renewable energy sources; Cavan, Johnstown Castle, Maynooth and Portlaoise.
In addition, recycled paper/paper products accounts for approximately 25% of expenditure on office supplies in my Department. A large percentage of the additional spend would be in respect of printer paper. The printer paper currently used in my Department, though not recycled, is produced from renewable forest sources. The supplier has indicated that a new recycled paper of a higher quality that may overcome the machinery reliability issues is now available. This product will be tested by my Department in the near future.
My Department is also of course involved in the development and promotion of a number of green energy projects. Measures taken by agencies under the aegis of my Department to reduce their carbon footprint are operational matters for the agencies themselves.
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