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Matthews criticises empty rhetoric from opposition parties on climate action

Date: 24 November 2021

Green Party TD – Steven Matthews was speaking in the Dáil on the Government’s climate action plan and was highly critical of what he described as rhetoric and complete inaction on behalf of opposition parties when it comes to their plans on climate action.

During his contribution, Deputy Matthews praised the ambition of the recently published climate action plan by the Government, acknowledging the challenges that it will pose but maintained that actions outlined in the plan as being completely necessary. However, he stressed that the reason it needed to be ambitious was down to the successive failings of previous Governments and opposition TDs to take substantive action in the last 20 years.

Deputy Matthews went on to highlight the average age of the TDs in the Dáil as being approximately 50 years old – using this point to highlight that most of the negative consequences of climate change are unlikely to impact on them directly. Deputy Matthews outlined:

“Most of us won’t be around when the real horrors of climate change hit this country. Most of us won’t be around when farmers are having trouble farming on flooded land. Most of us won’t be around when sea level rises impact our coastal communities”. Most of us won’t be around when parts of the planet are will be hugely challenged by mass migration – when parts of the planet won’t be liveable”

Deputy Matthews stressed that these decisions are difficult and may not be popular when it comes to the next election but emphasised that the climate action plan goes above politics and keeping your seat. He criticised politicians for only keeping their eye on the next 5- or 10-year election cycle and instead highlighted that the climate crisis needs to be tackled, reiterating that:

“What we are doing here is not for us. It's not for our political gain or careers. It’s not about anyone looking to keep their seat or lose their seat - what we are doing here is protecting my children, your children, your grandchildren and for every child not even born yet in this country. We are doing this so that in the next 20 or 30 years they have come chance to grow up in a country that won’t be hammered by climate change”.

Deputy Matthews concluded by welcoming some of the recent criticism of the climate action plan by opposition TDs but was highly critical that they were not suggesting alternatives and instead using their speaking time to just criticise for the sake of it. In his closing remarks he called for the opposition to work with the Government on tackling the climate crisis as it is not a partisan issue – it requires cross party cooperation.



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