Financial Resolution No. 2: Excise (Mineral Oil).

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 697 No. 3

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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Deputy Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I move:

[686]“SCHEDULE 2

Rates of Mineral Oil Tax

Description of Mineral Oil Rate of Tax
Light Oil:
Petrol €543.17 per 1,000 litres
Aviation gasoline €543.17 per 1,000 litres
Heavy Oil:
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
Coal:
For business use €4.18 per tonne
For other use €8.36 per tonne

Description of Mineral Oil Rate
Light Oil:
Petrol €34.38 per 1,000 litres
Aviation gasoline €34.38 per 1,000 litres
Heavy Oil:
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

[687]

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: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on 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.

  [688]8 o’clock

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 John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  That is a cop out.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister is a good man to talk about a cop out.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  That is fine until he goes to his——

(Interruptions).

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Minister can count the frogs and the hen harriers.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  There are no farmers in his constituency.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Minister should go to the pensioners——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Could we refrain from speaking across the floor? The Deputy is moving away from the issue.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on 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.

[689]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should keep to the resolution.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on 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 Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  It will be easier to count snails than Green Party members after the next election.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on 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 John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  The Deputy would never support it.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on 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——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask Deputy McManus not to move away from the resolution.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I was interrupted by a Minister who has no shame——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I will ask him to desist from dong so.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  ——when it comes to representing the principles of his party. I will represent the principles of his party.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  The Deputy is quite right.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I would like to have the chance to do so now.

Carbon tax must be dedicated to dealing with the issues relating to fuel poverty, climate change and tackling the big polluters. Regrettably, this carbon tax does none of those things.

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 [690]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.

What we got instead was a fig leaf for the Green Party when we are running out of time. This Minister will not produce the heads of a Bill on climate change as he sets out for Copenhagen.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  I can come up with them. They will be better than the Deputy’s.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Here we go again.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  This is not a game or a competition.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  The Minister should not be too smug.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  We have all-party support for a Bill that has already had an outline published.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister is running out of time.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  That is not even the heads of a Bill.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on 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.

My last point relates to the big polluters. Even Friends of the Earth Ireland, who are friends with the Green Party, have said we must deal with the big polluters.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  The Minister is spinning already.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Friends of the Earth state:

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Exactly.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It continues:

[691]Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Hear, hear.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on 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 Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Hear, hear. It is shocking.

Deputy Arthur Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on 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.

It is most unfortunate that the Greens are using this opportunity in Government to fool the public by presenting this as a carbon tax. It is just a tax and I will be opposing it.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on 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 Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  That is pathetic.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on 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 John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  This is Ireland.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  That is America.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on 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 [692]to a third of an improvement in energy efficiency in the next ten years. That will require massive retrofitting.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The target is 2025.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Who will lend the money?

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  The €130 million — which the ESRI has indicated we should put back into the economy — is real.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The banks will not give people the money.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Half of that is for social housing to keep the poorer people in our country warm and healthy.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  May I ask the Minister a question?

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  The second indication from the ESRI on a carbon tax——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  May I ask the Minister something?

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  ——is that revenue should be used——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  If the average cost——

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  I want to finish my point. The revenue should be used to reduce labour taxes——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——is €15,000 or €20,000, people will not get it from the banks in the first place.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  ——so that we end up taxing the bad and not the good.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Minister will not listen.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on 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 Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  That will not happen until 1 January.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  May I ask another question?

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on 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 Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  That should have been done in the first instance.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on 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.

[693]Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It will be by 2025.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on 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: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  May I ask the Minister a question?

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Does the Deputy have a question?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Yes.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  If the representatives going to Copenhagen are serious about climate change——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Yes, they are.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  ——they cannot stand here today and say “No” to putting a price on carbon.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  We will not stay here to be lectured by the Minister.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  They are not doing so.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  They are.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  That is a dishonest approach that shows the party does not have an environmental objective in its message.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  I will not take a lecture from the Minister.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  It shows the party is treating this as a political issue rather than as a policy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Kenny.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on 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 John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Is this a point of order? What is this?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Explain that.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  He is responding to the Minister.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister will be voting on this issue.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  We are in the process of developing our insulation schemes.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Government is going the wrong way about doing it.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  As I have signalled quite often——

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  How will they work?

[694]Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  There will be an obligation on our utility companies to do that work.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  How?

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  That is hot air.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  We will introduce a save-as-you-pay scheme. The up-front cost will be carried by the utility company and the work will be paid off as the person saves.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  What does the Minister mean by “as the person saves”?

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on 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 Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  That is a load of hot air.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  It does not.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  It does.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  There is a reasonable question.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I resent that nonsense.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy has already contributed. I will try to allow him speak again later.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Minister said to the Shell people in Ballinaboy that it should not go ahead.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Every analysis on the price of carbon——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  You were down there——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask the Minister and the Deputy to address their remarks through the Chair.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I will. If this Minister decides——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Otherwise we will have serious disorder in the House.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  The Minister has a responsibility to get this right——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——to come in here and call the rest of us hypocrites——

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  ——and not be guided by ideologies.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  The Deputy is not a spokesperson——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Minister stood at the gates of the terminal at Ballinaboy and said——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Kenny.

[695]Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——it should not go ahead. It had to go ahead.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We must speak to the resolution and not something extraneous to it.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I will not take that nonsense from the Minister, Deputy Ryan.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  It is a lot of hot air.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call Deputy Sherlock.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  It is the truth.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I will not put up with it.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Does Fianna Fáil go along with any of this?

Deputy Mary Coughlan: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We are going along with the rules of the House.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  It is a bit surreal to see——

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  They are more Fianna Fáil than Fianna Fáil themselves.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I remind Deputies that our time is limited for this debate.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  ——Fianna Fáil so silent on this matter.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I have never heard Deputy O’Dea so quiet.

Deputy Willie O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  I am nearly asleep.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We have heard the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources down the west on many occasions.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  If the Deputy believes in tackling climate change, he should vote “Yes” for this tax.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Yes, I believe in climate change.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The Green Party is banging on about climate change. The US is destroying the world.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  The Deputy should keep saying that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask Members to have some respect for the House.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on 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 Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Gardaí on bikes. The Tánaiste will not cycle behind her State car.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  I refer to the effect the carbon tax will have on a public sector employee earning €30,000 a year whose income will be reduced by €1,500.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy must speak to the resolution. This is part of the problem and this is why we have disorder.

[696]Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean 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 Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  We have committed to this.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  This has to be addressed in concrete terms, not in nebulous or airy-fairy terms.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean 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 Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  By insulating their walls and keeping them warm.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  They should have a reality check. We do not oppose the carbon tax but we do not want people on low incomes to be screwed to the wall.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Everybody wants a carbon tax but the problem is——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Allow Deputy Ring without interruption.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  The Deputies do not.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We are opposed to incineration.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister is the biggest bluffer in here.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on 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: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  I always understood the principle underpinning a carbon tax was that it would be revenue neutral. The manner in which it is being introduced is not.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Deputy should address his comments through the Chair.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  I apologise. I am addressing those whom I perceive to be the architects of the tax but I should not differentiate between the Government parties.

For example, targets were recently published for blended fuels but no policy incentives have been laid down to increase biofuel production. We will import biofuels to meet the targets.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  From Brazil.

[697]Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on 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 Paul Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  He can go organic. That is the job creating sector.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  That shows how much the Deputy knows about agriculture.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  That has a higher carbon output.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Deputies should speak through the Chair.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  We are not going back to the pony and trap form of agriculture. If Deputy Gogarty has nothing constructive to say, he would be as well off leaving the Chamber.

I appeal to the Minister to be true to the principles of a carbon tax, which are behaviour changing and revenue neutral. It meets neither, as proposed.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on 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 Paul Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  It is revenue neutral.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on 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.

[698]Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on 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 Paul Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  We are not well funded by developers.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It will shrink considerably in the future.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on 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.

We also proposed to exempt coal and peat for a period of two years. Deputy Cuffe should stop tut-tutting. He has done the same but has not put a timeframe on it.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  Yes.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  If Deputy Cuffe only knew what was in his own budget.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  Exactly.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on 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 Paul Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  They get it from Scotland.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on 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 Paul Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  I am sure the Minister will inform me when he gets a chance.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Allow Members to speak.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Well done, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on 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 [699]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.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I ask Deputy Coveney to accommodate other speakers.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on 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 Paul Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  However, not on businesses.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  I do not support it for agricultural diesel or for coal and peat and I will not make apologies to anybody for that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I ask the Deputy not to shout down Members.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on 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 Paul Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Deputy Coveney’s party is driven by corporate donations. He should not be so sanctimonious.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  If there is one thing that should be indisputable in Ireland it is that planting trees will help us meet our carbon challenge.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Hear, hear.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on 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.

[700]Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  There are many contradictions in the introduction of the carbon tax. A car scrappage scheme is included in the same budget and that will encourage people to buy cars.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  It concerns A and B bands.

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Which will cut emissions.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  It does not matter.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  It does matter.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Surely the emphasis should be on getting people out of cars and into public transport.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on 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.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Heuston Station is a station.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  There is no train station at the other end.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Which is a drawback.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  They work near a train station but cannot use it.

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 coun[701]try, it should not say that all the statistics show that more equal societies, in terms of incomes, do better in respect of climate change.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is right.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  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.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  For God’s sake.

Deputy Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Minister should sit down. He has no entitlement to speak twice.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  In order to ensure there is a balance, I propose to call the Minister now.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Is the Leas-Cheann Comhairle in a position to assure the House that Fianna Fáil will vote for this measure?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I call the Minister. I am required to ensure that there is balance and I note that a number of other Members from the Green Party wish to speak.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, the Minister who introduces the motion is not entitled to be called again.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  That is fine.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment introduced the motion.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Minister is acting as if he has a divine right to speak.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We have a few green shoots over here.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  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: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. This is an historic and proud day for those of us who actually care about the environment.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Here we go again.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is the same as last time.

(Interruptions).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Minister should be allowed to speak. He is entitled to be heard.

(Interruptions).

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  My only regret in respect of this tax is that this was not introduced many years ago.

[702]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Were the people not lucky in that regard?

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  We have been discussing this matter for more than 20 years.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  And we have been——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Minister should be allowed to speak without interruption.

(Interruptions).

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on 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 Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  As the Minister is trying to do in respect of the incinerator.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  It is most disingenuous to state that, on one hand, they favour a carbon levy while, on the other, they cannot find it in their hearts to vote in favour of this measure.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  What about the incinerator?

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Where does the Minister stand in respect of the incinerator in his constituency?

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  If Members wish to quote from Friends of the Earth, they should read that organisation’s press release.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  What about the incinerator?

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Friends of the Earth is seeking a carbon levy of €100. Do those opposite support that proposal? The answer is no.

(Interruptions).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Minister should be allowed to speak.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  The Minister should address his comments through the Chair.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  There is a great deal for ordinary people in this carbon levy because — as the ESRI has pointed out over many years — it will make our economy much more competitive.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It will not.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  It will provide for those who are suffering from fuel poverty. It will also provide for a retrofitting scheme.

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  The people to whom the Minister refers will buy less coal.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It will take until 2025 to complete the retrofitting scheme.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on 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 [703]beginning and I have every confidence that my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, will roll it out.

With regard to the local authorities, we are providing €50 million for the programme this year and this will be ramped up in the future. What we are doing is about helping ordinary people.

On flooding, there is a commitment in the budget to increase——

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister should not talk about flooding. He copped out in that regard. He has washed his hands of the matter.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  The Deputy’s party rezoned the land in the first instance.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  That is the whole point.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister copped out.

(Interruptions).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Minister should address his remarks through the Chair. Deputy Allen should allow other Members to speak and should not shout them down.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Get on with it Kermit.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  I am obliged to ask whether this is the party of Garrett FitzGerald?

(Interruptions).

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Fine Gael is unrecognisable and has transmogrified into a party of Neanderthals.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  If the Minister did not invite interruption, it would assist the debate.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Fine Gael has been around for a long time and it will be here when the Green Party is gone.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  The Minister should speak to the motion.

(Interruptions).

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  I have listened to the contradictory responses being offered from across the floor and I listened to what Deputy Ring had to say.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  It is difficult enough to control the debate without the Minister inviting interruptions.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Minister would like it if Fine Gael was no longer around.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Fine Gael councillors continue to rezone land in the most irresponsible way.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Green Party lost six council seats.

[704]Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Those opposite should consider the record of their councillors in respect of zonings and rezonings.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  How many councillors does the Minister’s party have?

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  Two. They could fit on a tandem.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Green Party lost six seats.

(Interruptions).

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on 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 Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Six green shoots disappeared.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Fine Gael members have continually voted to rezone lands.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  What about the Minister’s statement to the effect that development of the incinerator would proceed over his dead body?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Minister should address his remarks through the Chair.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  What can I do? I am continually being interrupted.

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  The Minister could leave the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  With respect, the Minister is inviting interruption.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  With respect, I am not doing so.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Where does the Minister stand in respect of the incinerator?

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  This could be one of the Minister’s final appearances in the Chamber.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister should not take himself so seriously.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Deputy Allen should cease interrupting.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Deputy Tuffy actually came out in opposition to energy efficient light bulbs.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  It will not be of assistance if the Minister attempts to reply to the points raised by individual Deputies.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  I must respond.

(Interruptions).

[705]Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on 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.

I invite Opposition Members to read the Budget Statement and analyse it in detail.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  What about forestry?

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  When they do so they will discover that this is a comprehensive response to climate change and they should vote in favour of it.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  What about a windfall tax? What is the position with regard to forestry?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  What about forestry? Are there no green shoots?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I call Deputy Perry.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on 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.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  If Members confine their contributions to one minute, I may be able to include most of those offering.

  9 o’clock

Deputy Andrew Doyle: Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on 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 [706]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 Paul Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  How much oil does it take to produce——

Deputy Andrew Doyle: Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on 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.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I call Deputy Durkan and I ask him to be brief.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard 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 Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  What is seldom is wonderful.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I have always been opposed to a carbon tax because I believe it is a farce.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  At least Deputy Durkan is honest.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  If the Minister will wait to hear——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Minister should allow Members speak. Time is limited.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  I am saying that I welcome that.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The only basis on which I would accept a tax of this nature is if it was specifically dedicated to create jobs, which this country needs at the moment.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  That is what we are doing.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard 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 Leo Varadkar: Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Blind pensioners freezing to death.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard 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: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran 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.

[707]Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  We did not seek exemptions. We want the poor to be looked after.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Fine Gael wants to exempt the farmers, Labour wants to exempt long-distance commuters, Fine Gael wants to exempt coal and turf and Labour wants to exempt rural dwellers.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  What about the poor?

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran 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 Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is not the only disconnect.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  ——to save the world and then criticising the significant actions we are taking at home.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  That unfortunate comment is profoundly undemocratic.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran 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 Fergus O’Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  Here are six fine specimens.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  On the one hand he criticises; on the other hand——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  On a point of order——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I call Deputy Kenny on a point of order.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  It better be good.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  If Deputy Cuffe wants to come with me any weekend, I will show him wildlife in places he has never been.

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  That is not a point of order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  With all due respect, that is for me to say.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  If Deputy Cuffe wants to go counting hen harriers or counting frogs I have no objection.

Deputy Trevor Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Is that the nightclub in Castlebar?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  That is not a point of order, as Deputy Kenny knows.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  I will take that invitation at face value; otherwise I am not sure where we would be going.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I ask Deputy Cuffe to conclude his contribution.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  One cannot run with the hares and hunt with the hounds.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  That is hypocritical when the Green Party is in Government with Fianna Fáil.

[708]Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  I ask the Leas-Cheann Comhairle for some protection.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I am doing my best.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran 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 Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Government took 5% from them as well.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  It is insulting to farmers.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  ——and insulting to people with masters degrees who are earning €23,000 a year trying to protect wildlife.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Government is cutting their pay and child benefit and Deputy Cuffe expects them to go counting frogs for him.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Deputy Cuffe is straying well beyond the terms of the resolution.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  If we are not protecting our wildlife, what will be next? Will Deputy Kenny criticise us for protecting the bradán feasa?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I call Deputy Joe Costello.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  If we do not value our wildlife and protect our heritage, what do we hold sacred? The principle in the resolution before us is a simple one. It is to tax the bad, not the good.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Deputy Costello has one minute.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  I was going to say that Deputy Cuffe lives in Dublin Central so he knows a lot about wildlife.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Deputy Cuffe should not have mentioned running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. He cannot go there.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Did Deputy Cuffe sell his oil shares?

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on 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: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I call the Tánaiste to reply very briefly in two minutes.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  There are two points.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Sorry Deputy Costello, there is not time.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  I did not get a minute.

[709]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Deputy Costello took a minute and 18 seconds.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  There are two points I want to make.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  There is no limit on his time if there is time left.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  There is; I am required to call the Tánaiste to respond.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Leas-Cheann Comhairle is not required to call the Tánaiste. There is nothing in Standing Orders that requires him to call the Tánaiste.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Deputy may well——

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  I seek 30 seconds.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  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.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  I did not even get one minute.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Deputy had one minute and 18 seconds, he has now taken two minutes and 18 seconds.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  I wanted to make two points. The first concerns gas and oil home heating coming into play in May. There is no commitment to the vouched system in respect of poorer families.

Second, there is no indication of what the so-called robust mechanism will be and how it will address peat and coal coming from Northern Ireland. We know the difficulties of smuggling——-

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  That point has been made.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  This is a crude instrument, with no detail on how it will operate.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Tánaiste has 40 seconds to respond.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  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.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  It is tragic.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  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.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I would not like to be cold waiting for that.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  When will that be?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  June.

[710]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is important to reiterate that the Minister of State, Deputy Killeen, has increased capacity to increase afforestation to 7,000 hectares over 2008 and 2009.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  That is rubbish.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is true. Over €100 million is being spent on forestry and an additional €4 million is being provided in order to increase afforestation in this country.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  That is rubbish. Every target has been missed. Deputy O’Dea’s Limerick regeneration is gone. He is like Mighty Mouse in Limerick and Mickey Mouse in Dublin.

Deputy Willie O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  Can Deputy Creed think of anything original to say?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  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.

Question put: “That Financial Resolution No. 2 be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 82; Níl, 58.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael. Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris.
Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán. Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall. Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine.
Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian. Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall. Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret.
Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán. Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel. Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul. Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John.
Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel. Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary.
Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie. Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire.
Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan. Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael.
Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. Information on James McDaid  Zoom on James McDaid  McDaid, James.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin. Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter. Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.



Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J. Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Zoom on George Lee  Lee, George.
Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim. Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John.
Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John.
Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan. Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom.
Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P. J. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and David Stanton.

Question declared carried.


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