Green MEP candidates seek ban on private jets and free Interrail tickets for teens

Green Mep Candidates Seek Ban On Private Jets And Free Interrail Tickets For Teens
(From left) Senator Pauline O'Reilly, director of elections Ossian Smyth, Grace O'Sullivan MEP and Ciarán Cuffe MEP at the launch of the Green Party's European election campaign. Photo: PA
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By Cillian Sherlock, PA

Green MEP candidates want a full ban on private jets in Europe and an end to tax exemptions for aviation fuel.

The party’s two sitting MEPs, Ciarán Cuffe and Grace O’Sullivan, are seeking re-election in Dublin and the South.


They attended a campaign launch in Dublin on Friday alongside Midlands–North-West candidate Pauline O’Reilly.

European Parliament election
Ciarán Cuffe MEP is seeking re-election (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Green manifesto also includes a call for free one-month Interrail tickets for all 18-year-olds and new taxes on aviation fuel.


Free Interrail tickets are currently allocated on a lottery basis to some 18-year-olds.

Mr Cuffe said there was a “general agreement” from the European Commission that there was a need to tax flights in and out of Europe.

He added: “Really, it flies against reason that we would allow a hugely significant contributor to emissions to get off scot-free.

“For many years we’ve spoken about fairer fares and that essentially means ensuring that people who are paying significant taxes on petrol and diesel, on home heating oil… Why should airline travellers get away without paying tax when everybody else has to pay it?”


Asked if he believed the policy which could affect the price of plane tickets would win votes in a cost-of-living crisis, Mr Cuffe said this is a “decade of change” and there had to be fairness in climate policies.

“I think people realise that we need to take action in the face of climate breakdown.”

European Parliament election
Minister Ossian Smyth attended the launch in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)


Other manifesto pledges include a promise to push for a transition fund for green infrastructure projects, oppose the Mercosur trade agreement, insist on suspending the EU Israel Association Agreement, create a single SailRail ticket to cover entire journeys to and from continental Europe across multiple transport modes, and create “more liveable cities” with safe walking and cycling facilities.

Minister Ossian Smyth, the party’s director of elections for the campaign, said: “There’s an element of Groundhog Day to some of our manifesto launches because we have been selling the same policies since the 1980s and what has changed is that they have become mainstream during that time.”

Mr Smyth said the party’s candidates were “hard-working, serious people of substance”.

European Parliament election
Grace O’Sullivan MEP (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms O’Sullivan said she and Mr Cuffe have played a “key role” in the European Parliament for the past five years.

She said electing three Green MEPS would ensure climate action, nature restoration and social justice are at the core of European policy.

She added: “The last 11 months in a row, global temperature records have been broken. Now is the time to double down on climate action, not slide back.

“The clearest message you can send for more ambition is by voting Green.”

European Parliament election
Senator Pauline O’Reilly (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms O’Reilly said the Green Party is the only party getting things done on climate.

“We are reducing emissions, expanding public transport and restoring nature. No other party is as committed to serious climate action or will work as hard to protect our environment.

“We are living through an era of record-breaking global warming and last year was the hottest year on record.

“On June 7th, we should vote as if the planet depended on it.”

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