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Green deputy leader criticises ‘shocking’ Coveney comments on cutting emissions

Green Party Deputy leader Catherine Martin criticised the Tanaiste’s remarks.

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Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin during a press conference for the Green Party at Irish Georgian Society, William St, Dublin, for the General Election campaign. Picture date: Thursday February 6, 2020. See PA story IRISH Election. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin during a press conference for the Green Party at Irish Georgian Society, William St, Dublin, for the General Election campaign. Picture date: Thursday February 6, 2020. See PA story IRISH Election. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin during a press conference for the Green Party at Irish Georgian Society, William St, Dublin, for the General Election campaign. Picture date: Thursday February 6, 2020. See PA story IRISH Election. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The possibility of the Green Party entering into formal talks with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail has hit a stumbling block due to a disagreement between the deputy leaders of the Greens and Fine Gael.

The Green Party has said 7% annual reduction in carbon emissions is a red-line issue for the party entering into a coalition government.

It has been 83 days since February’s inconclusive general election result and efforts by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to convince a smaller party to join their coalition are ongoing.

Fine Gael deputy leader Simon Coveney told the Irish Examiner the 7% yearly reduction in emissions would not be signed up to if it “decimates rural Ireland”.

“I am not going to put farmers out of business. Nothing has been ruled out effectively.

“But, there are some things you simply can’t say yes to without figuring out how it’s going to be done,” he said.

“Let’s be very clear on that, we are not going to sign up to a programme for government that decimates rural Ireland.

“That’ll never happen, even if that means another election.”

Green Party Deputy leader Catherine Martin told RTE radio Mr Coveney’s comments were “shocking” and “disturbing”.

“The Tanaiste saying he’s not up for 7%….it’s quite frankly disturbing.”

“Why don’t they know how to do this if they signed up to the agreement in 2015?

“Alarm bells are ringing. 

“Alarm bells are ringing also for us when it comes to provision of public housing on public land, they seem to want to pursue the private housing model, what lessons have been learned there, direct provision, it’s much more than the 7%,” she said.

Ms Martin said there was “unrest” among members over Fianna Fail and Fine Gael’s joint response to the Green Party’s 17 demands for entering talks, including the 7% annual target earlier this week.

The Green parliamentary party will meet on Friday to discuss how to respond to the two parties and whether to enter into formal talks.

PA