Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
|Description of Mineral Oil||Rate of Tax|
|Petrol||€543.17 per 1,000 litres|
|Aviation gasoline||€543.17 per 1,000 litres|
|Used as a propellant||€449.18 per 1,000 litres|
|Used for air navigation||€449.18 per 1,000 litres|
|Used for private pleasure navigation||€449.18 per 1,000 litres|
|Kerosene used other than as a propellant||€00.00|
|Fuel oil||€14.78 per 1,000 litres|
|Other heavy oil||€47.36 per 1,000 litres|
|Liquefied Petroleum Gas:|
|Used as a propellant||€63.59 per 1,000 litres|
|Other liquefied petroleum gas||€00.00|
|For business use||€4.18 per tonne|
|For other use||€8.36 per tonne|
|Description of Mineral Oil||Rate|
|Petrol||€34.38 per 1,000 litres|
|Aviation gasoline||€34.38 per 1,000 litres|
|Used as a propellant||€39.98 per 1,000 litres|
|Used for air navigation||€39.98 per 1,000 litres|
|Used for private pleasure navigation||€39.98 per 1,000 litres|
This resolution provides, with effect from midnight tonight, for a carbon charge to be included in the rates of mineral oil tax on petrol and auto-diesel. This additional charge, when VAT is included, amounts to just over 4 cent on a litre of petrol and just over 4 and a half cent on a litre of diesel.
The carbon charge is also applied to the rate for aviation gasoline, which is aligned to the petrol rate, and the rates for heavy oil used for recreational flying and boating, which are aligned to the auto-diesel rate. These carbon charges are equivalent to €15 per tonne of CO2 emitted. The resolution also provides for a relief from the carbon charges for bio-fuels, and for bio-fuel in auto-fuel blends, where the bio-fuel content of the blend accounts for more than 10% of the total volume.
This is an important first step in delivering on the commitment to a carbon tax in the programme for Government. The Minister for Finance will bring forward proposals in the finance Bill to apply carbon charges on the same basis to the non-auto mineral oils with effect from 1 May 2010. The Minister also proposes to introduce a new carbon tax on natural gas from that date, and a carbon tax on coal and commercial peat later in the year.
These carbon charges will also be on the basis of €15 per tonne of CO2, and they will be calculated in accordance with the CO2 emissions factors for the various energy products, so that they are in proportion to the quantity of CO2 released when those energy products are combusted. These emissions factors are provided by the Environmental Protection Agency.
As carbon dioxide emissions from certain industrial sectors are already regulated under the EU emissions trading scheme, a relief from the carbon tax charge is proposed for energy products used in installations that are covered by a greenhouse gas emissions permit. The yield from carbon tax for all energy products is expected to be approximately €250 million in 2010, and €330 million in a full year. The impact on the CPI is estimated at around 0.25% in 2010 and approximately 0.35% in a full year.
Deputy Enda Kenny: For quite some time Fine Gael has set out its view on support for a carbon tax. The beauty of contrast is that this party produced its budget perspective last Friday, which included use of revenue from a carbon tax to provide incentives and opportunities for employers to create employment and to hold on to existing jobs by the reduction of PRSI at the 20% and 50% levels.
Fine Gael’s budget perspective set out to put a fair price on dirty fuels to support domestic renewable energy sources and jobs. Deputy Coveney put forward Fine Gael’s proposal for an economic recovery authority dealing with an €18 billion jobs stimulus, part of which would be made up of revenue from carbon tax. There would be a two year exemption on solid fuels, that is, coal and turf, because they are used by elderly people and on agricultural diesel for farmers. It is remiss of the Government not to understand there has been a 28% drop in farmers’ incomes this year. It has been an absolute disaster and it follows an 11% drop in incomes last year. The exemption from carbon tax on agricultural diesel is an important matter in an industry that has literally been washed away in some parts of the country this year. It also included use of a windfall tax on power generators.
The Fine Gael proposal was to use revenue from the carbon tax in a revenue-neutral sense to protect jobs, create new jobs and make it easier for employers to take on employees. The budget, about which I will speak tomorrow, does not deal with that to any great extent.
I support the principle of retrofit for houses. One should examine the time and cost structure of the way it is done with Sustainable Energy Ireland. Applications forms are filled in, processed, analysed and eventually payment is made. The problem is people will not want to borrow €25,000 or €30,000 in order to do that insulation work. Unless people are burning three or four tanks of heating oil per year, it will not be worth their while to do this. In other countries, this work is done by companies at no charge to the occupant of the house. The value for the company doing the work is in keeping the saving in the energy costs as a consequence. The Minister will be aware this is a very successful scheme in a number of countries. We should consider that.
We support the principle of a carbon tax and have said so for a long time but we do not support the way in which the Government is going about it. I do not support the fact solid fuel has not been exempted. The Minister, Deputy Gormley, can shake his head if he wishes.
Deputy Enda Kenny: ——-and to the blind pensioners who will be hit by the carbon tax on solid fuels. All they have is the bag of turf, the bale of briquettes or the bag of coal which, I might add, is being hawked about on every street corner with a higher sulphur content than the Minister would like. It is coming into the country by various means and receipts show it is being sold as horse feed and so on because of the scams going on. The Minister is not doing anything about that.
Deputy Enda Kenny: I support the principle of a carbon tax but not the way it is being done. The Minister did not even have the courtesy to speak to Opposition members about the way he intended to implement it. I support the principle of a carbon tax but not the way it is intended to implement it.
Deputy Liz McManus: The Labour Party supports a carbon tax. We have argued for it and presented the case in various policy documents. We have been clear and unequivocal. Therefore, it is most regrettable that what was presented in this budget is a carbon tax which will not protect the poor and tackle climate change and the big polluters. It is a disgraceful carbon tax. In particular, it is a disgrace when one considers that Green Party Ministers are in government to pursue an agenda which is crucially important for the existence of this planet and the people living on it. What we have been presented with is shameful and we cannot support it.
Deputy Liz McManus: I would have a little modesty if I was the Minister, especially when one looks at the scam he has perpetrated with his 5% reduction in ministerial pay. A cleaner in his Department will face a 5% reduction——
Fuel poverty is a really important issue which must be tackled. All we got in the Budget Statement was that there will be some kind of vouched system some time in the future to protect the poor. I do not believe that nor do I believe an awful lot this Government says. We must have measures which are quantifiable and deal with the core issue of the cost of fuel for people living in low grade, substandard and poorly insulated housing, who are on very low incomes and who cannot afford the bald increases set out in the budget.
We need a retrofit scheme that is imaginative and is of a scale that matches the challenge. There are 1.2 million houses in this country that need retrofitting. We could employ 30,000 construction workers in an area in which they are skilled and using resources with which we are familiar, including internal or external insulation or whatever. That is not being done. We are getting more of the same.
We are getting a little top up essentially on the existing schemes which are operated through Sustainable Energy Ireland. Good luck to anybody who can avail of them. However, this is not the retrofit scheme we need. I believe I heard the Minister for Finance indicate that it will take until 2025 before all houses are done. He should get real. One of the few things we can do to tackle climate change which would be really effective would be to bring energy efficiency to the highest level possible. That means retrofitting buildings until we can retrofit no more and then hope further technology emerges quickly so we can retrofit more. It could have been done.
The road map was set out in research done by Joseph Curtin who showed exactly how it could be done. The Labour Party adopted that particular plan because it was so good, and I make no bones about it. It was a “pay as you save” scheme through one’s utility bill. It could have unlocked private money in bank accounts. People are afraid to spend money but they would spend it if they were assisted in making their homes energy efficient.
Deputy Liz McManus: The Minister has blown it anyway. He is going to Copenhagen without having done anything to ensure the message goes out from Ireland that we will have a decent carbon tax, climate change legislation and we are playing our part in meeting the greatest challenge of our generation.
Deputy Liz McManus: To do so would mean the Government has to take on the big, rich and powerful. The trademark of this budget, through every line, is that the rich will get off the hook. It is the cleaner in the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government’s Department who is paying the price while the Minister is getting off almost scot free.
Deputy Arthur Morgan: If a carbon tax Bill came before this House, my party would support it completely. Unfortunately, this is not a carbon tax but rather a revenue-raising measure. It has nothing whatever to do with saving the planet. This measure will hit low-income families disproportionately and in many cases, pensioners will have a choice between heat and food. If this were a real carbon tax, incentives would have been put in place to try to persuade people to use alternative measures.
For example, this will be a significant financial imposition on rural dwellers as they have no public transport. Every time they get into their cars to travel to the city or work, they will pay additional money to this revenue-raising measure which has nothing to do with carbon. It is a Green Party cop-out. If there is a fig leaf, it is pretty withered and would hide very little behind it at this stage.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Carbon tax has been considered for a long time. We have an advantage in that regard as there has been much economic analysis and study on it. The best analysis was done by the ESRI, which had a fairly clear and simple message as to how to go about this. It indicated that the price should be matched to the European emission trading system, ETS, price. The European system has been set up and without us changing Europe, it is difficult for us to change that system. We have matched it to the ETS price as it is approximately €15 in that system.
The ESRI also indicated that the money should be spent in four areas, as it would be advantageous to the economy if the money was recycled in a number of areas. The first is energy efficiency measures. I remember five years ago, before Joseph Curtin came up with his very good ideas, coming before the Oireachtas committee and saying what exactly we had to do. I am very glad we have been able, in Government, to implement the plans we have had for five years.
Deputy Eamon Ryan: It is not pathetic. I will give an example of the scale of ambition compared to other countries. President Obama has spent approximately $400 million as a stimulus for retrofitting.
Deputy Eamon Ryan: We are spending €130 million next year. We are not as big as the United States but that is a fair percentage in comparison. We will not stop there. We are going to 100,000 houses per year and we will meet the public sector buildings targets, which equate to a third of an improvement in energy efficiency in the next ten years. That will require massive retrofitting.
Deputy Eamon Ryan: The revenue we are raising from a carbon tax would allow the Minister for Finance to reduce PRSI for people coming off the dole. It is exactly as the ESRI recommended. The ESRI also recommended that VAT should be reduced and we have again done that with some of the carbon revenue raised.
Deputy Eamon Ryan: Finally, with regard to protecting those on lower income, the Minister for Finance has given a commitment to introduce the initiative on solid fuels and other heating oils, the fuel allowance will be increased on a vouched basis to cover the cost so those in fuel poverty will not be affected.
Deputy Eamon Ryan: In any rational analysis of the best economic advice we have had for ten years in advance of this, we can check if we have done what economists believe we should. We have invested in energy efficiency that is leading the world.
Deputy Eamon Ryan: We have invested in reductions in labour taxes, which it was argued we should, and we have reduced VAT with some of the revenues, as it was indicated we should. We will protect those in fuel poverty.
Deputy Enda Kenny: The Minister seems to know all the answers. If a constituent, Mr. John Gormley, lives in a semi-detached house and gets an estimate of what it will cost to retrofit the house at €25,000, he will not get it from the bank and he will not want to borrow the money. What he will get under the SEI will not cover it.
Deputy Eamon Ryan: This is the best investment anyone can make. We went into 30,000 houses this year where people are noticing the benefit. We will double that next year and the year after. It is that ambition that is driving us to introduce this carbon tax in order to gain revenue that will help cut emissions and tackle climate change. Voting against it is a shameful vote in that regard and colours the position of the Opposition as it goes to Copenhagen.
Deputy Michael Ring: All the Green Party wants to do is tax us. Its members want to tax rural Ireland and put us off the road. We will have to pay more and they have all the public servants to pay up. We know that is what the tax is for.
Deputy Seán Sherlock: The effect of the carbon tax on vulnerable, low paid people will be more pronounced as a result of the cuts that have been effected. We want the Government to do something in real terms for them. The budget is predicated on reducing the incomes of the low paid. The introduction of the carbon tax without mitigating its effect on those on low incomes is inequitable. I would like the Minister to address this.
Deputy Seán Sherlock: This is about real people whose incomes are minuscule and the Minister is further marginalising them and cutting them off through imposition of these taxes. The Green Party Ministers do not realise it because they are on another planet. They do not inhabit the real world. There are people in the real world outside these walls who have been put to the pin of their collar by Ministers who are off saving the planet.
Deputy Michael Ring: Everybody wants a carbon tax except Fianna Fáil and the ordinary people of Ireland. This is not a carbon tax. It is another attack on rural people in rural Ireland and it is an attack on the poor, the weak and the sick in society. Of course the Green Party Ministers want to save the world. They should save Ireland first and then they can save the world because they are destroying the country. They have it in the state it is in. The Ministers should go to the countries that are causing the problem. America and China would cause more trouble in five minutes than Ireland would cause for the next 50 years. I am sick and tired of the Green Party and people talking about carbon tax. It is another tax on people.
Deputy Michael Creed: The much trumpeted €121 million allocation for forestry and biofuels was announced by the Minister for Finance as if new money was being provided. This represents a net increase of €2 million over the allocation for 2009. The ink is not dry on the revised programme for Government, which has a target of planting 10,000 hectares of forestry annually. The Department did not even plant 5,000 hectares this year with an allocation of €119 million. How does the Government propose to meet its overall policy objectives with regard to carbon reduction and so on if the allocation will go nowhere near meeting the commitment signed up to recently in the revised programme for Government? The sum of €121 million is also intended to tackle the issue of biofuel production. Ireland’s carbon footprint will increase because companies will be obliged to import biofuels to meet the blending requirement. The Government’s proposal is illogical.
The other issue surrounding the carbon tax is the intention to change people’s behaviour and, as a consequence, lighten their carbon footprint. I refer to the agricultural community. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources mentioned the ESRI, which estimates the yield from a carbon tax on the agricultural sector would be approximately €17 million annually. What alternative has a farmer? He cannot hitch his plough, harrow, fertiliser spreader or slurry spreader to the back of the DART. He has no alternative.
Deputy Seymour Crawford: I will not take lectures from the Green Party about a carbon tax. When we were in Government, 25,000 hectares of forestry was planted annually, not 5,000 hectares, and there was little money in the country. I have been involved in the organisation of wind farms, biomass plants and green energy production. I was successful in regard to the largest wind farm in the State but unsuccessful regarding the biomass plant because blunt lies were told. However, that is history. This is being introduced simply as a tax.
Deputy Seymour Crawford: It will increase the cost of transport in an area like mine where there is no rail or other form of transport. We depend on haulage transport to import and export our goods. County Monaghan has some of the largest poultry and pig meat producers in the country and I know a little about the costs involved. Increasing costs at a time those in the industry are losing at least 30% of their incomes means it is an additional tax. If the Minister had said the money would be used to deal with climate change, that would be another story but this is another form of taxation and, for that reason, I oppose it.
I refer to diesel for agriculture use. The Minister promised an deferral of the imposition of the tax in this regard until next May. In my part of the country, farmers do not cut silage until long after May. The Minister has had no mercy on them either.
Deputy Simon Coveney: I resent the accusation coming from the two Green Party Ministers that if we do not support exactly what they are doing that we do not care about climate change. That is the type of ideological arrogance that has kept the Green Party the size it is in this country.
Deputy Simon Coveney: Unfortunately it is because people such as Deputy Gogarty do not understand the carbon consequences of organic farming that they make fools of themselves in the House on a regular basis.
I want to make a number of points on this proposal. Last Friday, Fine Gael published its proposals on carbon tax for everybody to assess, examine and criticise if they wished to do so. We proposed a higher rate of carbon tax than is in the budget, based on €20 per tonne rather than €15 but we also proposed that certain sections of the economy would be exempt for good reason and agricultural diesel was one of those.
Deputy Simon Coveney: The Minister stated that because of problems with the black market and the fact that coal in Northern Ireland has a higher carbon content, which Deputy Gogarty probably does not know either——
Deputy Simon Coveney: ——would be brought South of the Border as a result of the imposition of a carbon tax. We now have a very uncertain situation for the peat and coal industries in Ireland because they do not know when a carbon tax will be imposed and will not have an opportunity to prepare for it. According to the budget, a carbon tax on coal and peat will be introduced at some stage in the future subject to a commencement order from the Minister. Perhaps Deputy Gogarty might like to read it and inform himself.
Deputy Simon Coveney: If we are to impose a carbon tax, the parts of the economy affected by it need certainty and a timescale towards which they can plan. If we are to impose a carbon tax on coal and peat let us have a timescale to do so. I stand over exempting agricultural diesel for very good reasons, which my colleagues have outlined.
Perhaps the Tánaiste will listen to me make my next point, rather than dismiss me because I am not in the ideological niche in which the Green Party seems to live. Last year, consumers and business paid an extra €220 million on their electricity bill because of the cost of carbon imposed and required by regulation on electricity bills in Ireland for businesses and households. People wonder why electricity is so expensive in Ireland. We have a carbon tax on electricity and we have had it for two years. We have stated this for 18 months and we agree with it. However, we want the Government to take it back and recycle it into the economy in some of the areas in which the SEI and the Minister, Deputy Ryan, are spending money and we support spending money on retrofit programmes, the warmer home scheme, the greener home scheme and the home energy efficiency scheme. However, we would like to see them refined to make it easier for home owners to pay over a period of time rather than having to borrow large capital sums to meet the portion of the cost to refit their homes that they have to access themselves from private funding.
Deputy Simon Coveney: I will do so. The lack of certainty in the solid fuels sector and the complete lack of a plan for the windfall profits made by energy companies on the back of consumers and businesses results in high energy prices in Ireland. We are not taking these back and spending at a time when we desperately need money. What happened to the memo leaked over the summer which stated that the Government would recoup windfall tax from energy generators? Why has this not been done in the budget? Instead we will introduce a new carbon tax to raise new revenue when for the past two years we have had a carbon tax which nobody knows about. I support the introduction of a carbon tax on petrol and diesel for cars.
Deputy Simon Coveney: It is my job and the job of Deputy Kenny, Deputy McManus and others to make a judgment call on how to balance the responsibilities of this House towards climate change and the environment with the realities in the economy. That is what we are trying to do but Deputy Gogarty does not see the reality because he is driven by an ideology.
Deputy Simon Coveney: Consider what has been done in the UK where enormous resources have been committed to planting trees for the next 40 years. All we can manage is an increase of €2 million from this year’s budget, which was a failure. This year we will plant between only 4,000 hectares and 5,000 hectares. Next year we will have a fund for forestry and bioenergy and I suspect forestry will receive less money next year than it is receiving this year. The Minister stated we will plant 7,000 hectares. That is fallacy and he is misleading people. He expects us to believe in the Government on climate change when he is deliberately misleading people on forestry and making a bags of the introduction of a carbon tax.
Deputy Joanna Tuffy: If this is a carbon tax then the excise duty placed on petrol last year was a carbon tax and I made that point at the time. The Minister is not doing anything different to change people’s behaviour and that point was made. An amount of €0.08 was slapped onto petrol last year and this year €0.04 will be put on it. While this measure is labelled a carbon tax, with which everyone agrees on principle, it is a tax to raise money and we know that. The country is in deep trouble and Ministers are doing anything they can to cut spending and imposes taxes without calling them what they are.
The Minister spoke about encouraging people to get electric vehicles. He never thinks about people who live in remote communities in rural areas or people in commuting areas without a decent public transport system. The people who will be hit are those on middle incomes who will lose child benefit and public sector workers who travel from Navan to the HSE headquarters beside Heuston Station and there is no train service for them and they must use a car.
What is the Government doing about bus services? Will extra buses be put on the road? Last year, issues were raised about motor tax and VRT on buses used for youth groups. Has anything been done to encourage people to use buses to get from A to B? I cannot see anything in the budget to do so. The Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, was quoted in The Irish Times welcoming the reduction in gas prices and stating how great it would be for businesses and that we would have cheaper gas. If that is his view, why is he slapping on a tax? It is a contradiction.
It was stated that the carbon tax will allow us to maintain or reduce payroll taxes. This means slapping on a carbon tax at one end and down the line reducing income taxes as was done previously. I heard the Minister state he wants to reduce labour tax which is Progressive Democrats speak for income taxes. The fairest way to tax people and to provide public transport is through income taxes. If the Green Party wants to be the new version of the Progressive Democrats, that is fine. However, it should not pretend to be something it is not. If the Green Party wants to do something about climate change and encourage greater equality in this country, it should not say that all the statistics show that more equal societies, in terms of incomes, do better in respect of climate change.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Eight Deputies are offering and I want to ensure there is balance in the debate. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is rising to contribute but he is well down the list of speakers.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: First, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment introduced the motion and, second, we are operating on a Committee Stage basis so any Member may contribute more than once. However, the latter will not be permitted to happen in view of the time constraints involved.
Deputy John Gormley: The introduction of a carbon tax has been blocked on many occasions. I listened carefully to Deputy Stagg and others across the Chamber and it is clear they are trying to have it every way.
Deputy John Gormley: Such a scheme will be of assistance not only in the context of reducing CO2 emissions but will also reduce people’s fuel bills. The retrofitting programme is only the beginning and I have every confidence that my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, will roll it out.
Deputy John Gormley: Fine Gael’s record in this regard is utterly shameful. If one wishes to reduce people’s dependency on their cars, one must plan communities properly. It is astounding that members of a party which used to believe in certain standards can continue to rezone in such an unethical way.
Deputy John Gormley: On the car scrappage scheme, I wish to inform Deputy Tuffy that the levy applies only to the A and B bands. In other words, we are referring to low-emission vehicles. Will CO2 emissions be reduced? Absolutely, and that is the intention behind it.
Deputy John Perry: I wish to inform the Minister, Deputy Gormley, that my party is led by Deputy Kenny, who has a vision for the future. An opportunity has been lost in respect of this matter. This levy is a way to take in €330 million without putting anything back into the real economy. There is a great deal of uncertainty abroad at present and many people, including hauliers, will be affected by this levy. An opportunity exists in respect of ring-fencing this money and using it to create jobs in the real economy. However, that opportunity will not be seized.
People are going to experience major difficulties in the context of obtaining money from the banks to retrofit their homes. The banks are not lending money at present. It was stated that if people have difficulties obtaining money they can appeal their cases to an independent officer. This shows that the banks are not lending money. I cannot see how it will be possible for people to obtain €25,000 or €30,000 from their banks to retrofit their homes and that this will be justifiable on return within four years. There will be major difficulties in this regard.
Deputy Andrew Doyle: I am not sure whether what the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government put forward was a low-carbon or a high-carbon smokescreen. However, I am taken aback by the elation shown by the members of this party because it appears, at long last, that they have had something placed on the agenda for which they can claim credit. Two years ago, Members were asked to traipse over to Buswell’s Hotel to sign up, in principle, to the concept of a carbon tax. We were asked to do so by an organisation whose members are quite close to the Ministers from the Green Party. We were informed at that stage that a carbon tax was going to be introduced. However, the proposals in that regard subsequently went to pot.
On agricultural diesel, we are trying to produce food in as low-cost an environment as possible. The Minister gave the game away when he stated that a carbon tax will also allow us to maintain or reduce our payroll costs. I do not know what that has to do with ring-fencing carbon revenues in order to allow people to produce food or to operate their businesses in a low-carbon environment. The Minister really let the cat out of the bag on this one.
On organic farming, and as the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Deputy Sargent, pointed out at the National Ploughing Championships 12 months ago, Switzerland has a 5% organic farming sector. This means that 95% of its production is not organic. To say that a housewife can push a trolley to a farmers market and purchase everything necessary to feed her family is absolute nonsense. People in this country who use conventional farming methods can produce food in a more carbon-efficient manner than any of their counterparts in organic farming. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government should appoint consultants to compile an independent report on this matter.
Deputy Andrew Doyle: Deputy Gogarty is talking absolute nonsense. I referred to conventional, not intensive, farming methods. He should get out of his bloody back garden in Lucan and try producing food for the masses.
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: I will be uncharacteristically brief. I am sure that, like me, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is impressed that all of the Green Party parliamentary contingent, including its Ministers, have come before the House for this debate. This is something they have not done for the past two and a half years and I welcome it.
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: In this case, unfortunately, it is not. The Green Party Members may well have gorged themselves on bowls of muesli, worn the sandals and hugged every tree they saw but the people penalised as a result of this tax are the poor people in this country. Every industry, every household, carers and the Irish Wheelchair Association have been hit by this imposition.
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Every person going to collect unemployment assistance and benefit, those who have been recently unemployed, will be hit by this measure. The poor Greens are going to make everyone else equally poor and irrelevant.
Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: There is a disconnect between the lofty rhetoric coming from Fine Gael and the Labour Party on the carbon levy and the business as usual on the Front Bench and backbenches. The amount of exemptions sought by Fine Gael and the Labour Party would make a nonsense of a carbon tax.
Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: There is a principle of taxation, that a tax should be plain and simple. That is what we have in the proposal for a carbon tax this evening. There is a disconnect between Deputy Coveney and Deputy McManus going to Copenhagen——
Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: They cannot run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. This extends not only to the Front Bench and the backbenches of Fine Gael but to their party leader, who yesterday ridiculed our attempts to survey our wildlife.
Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: One cannot criticise the Green Party for surveying our wildlife on the one hand and then tell us we are not implementing EU directives. It is insulting to the National Parks and Wildlife Service and insulting to our wildlife rangers——
Deputy Joe Costello: We heard all about diesel and the impact on the agricultural community. Serious issues remain to be addressed. What the Green Party proposes in this tax is to deal with carbon, change behaviour in respect of climate change and reduce carbon. That is desirable. The question is whether it is a crude mechanism and to my mind it is. It operates entirely as a sanction and there is no clear indication of an incentive. There is nothing on the agricultural side of things. Second,——
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: No, I am going to put the question in 50 seconds. Deputies have put questions and the normal courtesy of the House is that they may have their questions responded to. If Deputies insist on speaking through that, there will not be time for that. The Tánaiste has one minute to respond.
The Tánaiste: This is a serious issue. Despite the banter and discussion, there is acceptance that the challenges with carbon need to be addressed. The methodology is the issue of disagreement in the House.
The Tánaiste: Three or four serious points were made. Regarding fuel poverty, the intention of the Minister for Social and Family Affairs and the Minister of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is to bring together the offset to those who may be subject to fuel poverty arising from these decisions. There will be a new system of voucher being used in the purchase of this fuel in the south of Ireland.
The Tánaiste: Members referred to transport. Retrofitting is extremely important and was alluded to. The reason we will continue to have investment in rural transport is a consequence of this. These were issues articulated on the floor of the House and that is important.
|Ahern, Bertie.||Ahern, Dermot.|
|Ahern, Michael.||Ahern, Noel.|
|Andrews, Barry.||Andrews, Chris.|
|Ardagh, Seán.||Aylward, Bobby.|
|Blaney, Niall.||Brady, Áine.|
|Brady, Cyprian.||Brady, Johnny.|
|Browne, John.||Byrne, Thomas.|
|Calleary, Dara.||Carey, Pat.|
|Collins, Niall.||Conlon, Margaret.|
|Connick, Seán.||Coughlan, Mary.|
|Cregan, John.||Cuffe, Ciarán.|
|Cullen, Martin.||Curran, John.|
|Dempsey, Noel.||Devins, Jimmy.|
|Dooley, Timmy.||Fahey, Frank.|
|Finneran, Michael.||Fitzpatrick, Michael.|
|Fleming, Seán.||Flynn, Beverley.|
|Gogarty, Paul.||Gormley, John.|
|Grealish, Noel.||Hanafin, Mary.|
|Harney, Mary.||Haughey, Seán.|
|Healy-Rae, Jackie.||Hoctor, Máire.|
|Kelleher, Billy.||Kelly, Peter.|
|Kenneally, Brendan.||Kennedy, Michael.|
|Killeen, Tony.||Kitt, Michael P.|
|Kitt, Tom.||Lenihan, Conor.|
|Lowry, Michael.||McDaid, James.|
|McEllistrim, Thomas.||McGrath, Mattie.|
|McGrath, Michael.||McGuinness, John.|
|Mansergh, Martin.||Martin, Micheál.|
|Moloney, John.||Moynihan, Michael.|
|Mulcahy, Michael.||Nolan, M. J.|
|Ó Cuív, Éamon.||Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.|
|O’Brien, Darragh.||O’Connor, Charlie.|
|O’Dea, Willie.||O’Donoghue, John.|
|O’Flynn, Noel.||O’Hanlon, Rory.|
|O’Keeffe, Batt.||O’Keeffe, Edward.|
|O’Rourke, Mary.||O’Sullivan, Christy.|
|Power, Peter.||Power, Seán.|
|Roche, Dick.||Sargent, Trevor.|
|Scanlon, Eamon.||Smith, Brendan.|
|Treacy, Noel.||Wallace, Mary.|
|White, Mary Alexandra.||Woods, Michael.|
|Allen, Bernard.||Bannon, James.|
|Barrett, Seán.||Behan, Joe.|
|Breen, Pat.||Burke, Ulick.|
|Byrne, Catherine.||Carey, Joe.|
|Clune, Deirdre.||Connaughton, Paul.|
|Coonan, Noel J.||Coveney, Simon.|
|Crawford, Seymour.||Creed, Michael.|
|Creighton, Lucinda.||D’Arcy, Michael.|
|Deasy, John.||Deenihan, Jimmy.|
|Doyle, Andrew.||Durkan, Bernard J.|
|English, Damien.||Enright, Olwyn.|
|Feighan, Frank.||Ferris, Martin.|
|Flanagan, Charles.||Flanagan, Terence.|
|Hayes, Brian.||Hayes, Tom.|
|Hogan, Phil.||Kehoe, Paul.|
|Kenny, Enda.||Lee, George.|
|McCormack, Pádraic.||McEntee, Shane.|
|McGinley, Dinny.||McGrath, Finian.|
|McHugh, Joe.||Mitchell, Olivia.|
|Morgan, Arthur.||Naughten, Denis.|
|Neville, Dan.||Noonan, Michael.|
|Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.||Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.|
|O’Donnell, Kieran.||O’Dowd, Fergus.|
|O’Keeffe, Jim.||O’Mahony, John.|
|O’Sullivan, Maureen.||Perry, John.|
|Reilly, James.||Ring, Michael.|
|Shatter, Alan.||Sheahan, Tom.|
|Sheehan, P. J.||Stanton, David.|
|Timmins, Billy.||Varadkar, Leo.|
|Last Updated: 15/12/2010 16:31:06||Page of 177|