Climate action plan could 'seem like a chore to a lot of people', McGrath says

Climate Action Plan Could 'Seem Like A Chore To A Lot Of People', Mcgrath Says
Michael McGrath said more clarity on the climate action plan will be given in the coming weeks. Photo: PA
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By Cate McCurry, PA

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has said some measures in the Government's climate action plan could be “burdensome” for people, but he urged the public to remember it is to protect the natural environment.

The plan, set to be published on Wednesday, will lay out how the Government will achieve the agreed sectoral carbon emissions targets and the overall target of a 51 per cent reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050.


The revised plan will encourage people to take public transport and reduce the use of and dependency on cars.

It will aim to reduce the total distance driven across all car journeys by 20 per cent, and to have nearly one in three private cars as an electric vehicle by 2030.

The plan is also expected to recommend reducing public sector parking but will only apply where there is good public transport.

“This is in essence, the first statutory plan which is underpinned by law and, of course, these are not just Irish targets, they are European targets and we signed up to international obligations as well,” Mr McGrath said on Wednesday.


“When you go through the individual items I am conscious that can seem like a chore to a lot of people because we’re going to be asking for sacrifices.

“I do think we have to remember why we’re doing it. It is about protecting the natural environment, it’s about enriching our biodiversity, it’s about making sure we have clean water around the country, and that we’re breathing clean air.

“I think sometimes we just have to remind ourselves the overall purpose of all of these different measures and these different impositions that we are asking of people.”

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the transport sector will have to make a “very significant contribution”.


“That will involve modal shift, it will involve greater emphasis on public transport,” he added.

“We are really conscious that we have to give people a clear alternative. If we want people to leave the private car behind them, then they have to see that there is a practical substitute that works for them and that is the challenge.

“I think when people see the way in which we reduce public transport fares, 50 per cent for young people, 20 per cent across the general population, we are continuing to have right through next year.”

Leinster House parking

Asked whether ministers, TDs and senators will be asked to give up their car parking space at Leinster House, Mr McGrath said there can be no exceptions once the policies have been agreed.


“I think the important principle is that whatever is decided for the general population or for the public sector generally, has to apply across the board. There cannot be exceptions.

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“Colleagues travel from all over the country where there may not be currently a viable public transport solution. The same applies to other workers who are travelling to work every single day from the public sector and the private sector.

“Whatever rules are finally decided on and new policies arise, they have to apply across the board and not have exceptions for politicians.”

He said that while further detail will be provided in the plan published on Wednesday, more clarity will be given in the coming weeks.

Asked whether the plan published on Wednesday will include details about congestion charges, Mr McGrath said: “You will get some detail today in general, but you will also have further detail then in a list of actions that will be set out in annexes of the climate action plan and those will be published in the coming weeks.”

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